Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yoko Tawada – Where Europe Begins Quotes

Sometimes other people’s skulls look transparent. At such moments I fall in love.

They say hair is the part of the skin that has died and hardened. Part of my body is already a corpse.

I was trying to preserve my body from death by burning it onto paper.

People’s mouths fell open like trash bags, and garbage spilled out. I had to chew the garbage, swallow it, and spit it back out in different words. Some of the words stank of nicotine. Some smelled like hair tonic.

No work is more exhausting than sleep.

…My mother asked, “Why don’t you cut your hair? They say the god of death can grab hold of long hair.”

I am a transparent coffin.

The moon no one sees belongs to yesterday.

Something no one sees can’t be wrong.

Perhaps some books do scream when they’re torn apart.

When a person smells different, it’s as if she’s altogether a stranger, and one becomes a little shy.

It’s strange the way the expression of a foreigner’s face is often compared to a mask. Does this comparison conceal a wish to discover a familiar face behind the strange one?

Sometimes two people sat down next to each other in a café, and thus, briefly, formed a word. Then they separated, in order to go off and form other words.

I wish I were made of raisins. In the language of raisins I say: do not call me by a place name. Do not give me women’s shoes.

The claim that a person who writes is not truly living can only be made by someone who sees a person and his life as subject and object. He might say the most important thing is to live one’s life. I would say: I live and my life lives as well. Even my writing lives.

There are people, though, who assume that everyone is given an original text at birth. They call the place where these texts are stored a soul.

In a book about Indians I once read that the soul cannot fly as fast as an airplane. Therefore one always loses one’s soul on an airplane journey and arrives at one’s destination in a soulless state… In any case, this is the reason why travelers most often lack souls. And so tales of long journeys are always written without souls.

To cut off a person from the world, you must first destroy not his mouth but his ear.

How strange! In order to read, I have to look at the text. But to avoid stumbling, I have to pretend the letters don’t exist. This is the secret of the alphabet: the letters aren’t there any longer, and at the same time they haven’t yet vanished.

The books can never forget their readers, though the readers have no doubt forgotten all about the books’ contents.

I had always found it unpleasant to have guests in my apartment. They filled up my rooms with strange sentences I would never have formulated in such a way.

For me, my apartment had the function of a skin. No one could observe it from the inside.

Buy the book: Where Europe Begins (New Directions Paperbook)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite books. I love the well crafted sentences.