Renee Gladman

from The Eleven


I sat in front of it and felt distinctly without conflict that we were separate: I was a body and it was an object, albeit the most thin I’d ever seen and the most cavernous. I was a body and it was a page and we both had our proverbial blankness. I was poised to write. I was poised to open and write or to open and let writing happen. Since it had yet to be determined what writing actually was, how it formed, and where it went once it was made, you didn’t know what you had to do in order to write. You seemed to want to make a map of that blank slate; you seemed to want to make a mark; you seemed to want to pull a mark out of the blankness. The page opened. It was clean but it crackled like something was living there. I wondered about the signs we were wearing—if somewhere on me was the sign “writer” and somewhere on it was “page,” because somehow we knew what we were going to do. I was going to make a mark and it was going to open and crackle and seem electrified: blank but full of presences or questions. My blankness was harder to define; when I looked for it—reached into myself for it—it was only the page that I found. But I didn’t know whether at some point in my past, perhaps at the very first moment I set out to write, the page had fallen out of me or I had risen out of it.