Derrida’s reinscriptions

by Michelle

“A body of writing is organic. Its words are like cells which grow and expand, into an architecture of passages. Nurtured by the flow of ink, by the promise of white space, shaped by the rules of syntax, some words form into patterns that create meanings, forming little embryos of stories, while other words miscarry. They read like pieces of coral, or broken shells, semantically fated, asking to be replaced with a different voice. In this respect a body of writing is spectral, a dopplegänger, a kind of fragmentary haunting. Writing is both the act of deciphering meaning and the act of inscribing it. It’s not one body of writing but many plurals of the same identity giving the impression of singularity and completion. It may disguise its own attempt  to answer questions of authenticity and accuracy.

      Derrida writes about this vividness; this process of reinscription within the text, because as he claims, there is nothing outside the text: il ny’ a pas dehors texte. There are only, in his view, projections of the desire to escape from difference, the desire to find a transcendental meaning, the desire for the purity of love. Derrida’s confession was that he only ever deconstructed those texts that he loved. Accordingly, he says, an author, a narrator, or a third person, is a whole, made up of parts, a ghost-ship, or a phantom crew navigating the uncharted, wandering within the diffusion of desire from love to love.

      If Derrida is right, every narrator is made up of pieces, not unlike fragments of coral, each containing a thousand tiny air sacs, half-coloured, half-faded, washed ashore perhaps from a reef, or swept along by a windy swell. Each piece carries its hint of another life, its clues borne out by fish and reef plankton. So a story relies on small indeterminate truths. The nuances of our lives are fragile and subtle. They are vibrations, in which appearances touch and boundaries slip away. They are guessed as much as they are preserved. We live with the speculative, swept in the current of a partially imagined past through the appearances of the present, to a space where we might rest and heal. It is to this alchemy of memory, thought and dream that we unwittingly turn. ”

this is an adapted extract from my fiction manuscript…