Texts for nothing – Samuel Beckett
An orchestral conductor beats a silent bar or so to set the tempo for the orchestra – a ghost measure called the ‘measure for nothing’ – that explains Beckett’s choice of title for 13 brief tales he wrote sixty one years ago, my birth year, actually. At the time of writing the tales, Beckett described himself as struggling to ‘go on’, and wrote these ‘prose stutterings’ which expressed, he said, the “failure to implement the last words of The Unnameable [an earlier work]: I can’t go on. I’ll go on.
The conductor’s arm sweeps, preliminary, gearing up the orchestra – poised, all enter on time, the first breaking of the silence, all the stuttering rehearsals done now, here’s the real thing…
Sometimes the writing is like that – stutterings, a text for nothing.