...I am happy. Today most of all because..., I have begun this diary that is also going to be a book of footnotes commenting on an invisible text...
—from the opening page of Bartleby & Co. by Enrique Vila-Matas
While I’m not so unlucky with women, nor as physically ugly as the narrator of Vila-Matas’ book, I have cause to be happy as well. For, after years of putting of the task, I’ve decided that today, I too, will begin a diary that is also going to be a book of footnotes. And whereas the narrator of Bartleby set out to annotate an invisible text, I will set out to comment on an unfolding text --- which (admittedly) is partially obscured, and still coming into existence.
I don’t speak only of my own text, the book of which I am the author, but of the great eternal text worked upon and added to by all authors, each offering up their own contributions to the growing pile of leaves (some more significant than others), that ever-growing text which we call “literature.” It is a text without end. Amen.
The role I play (or pretend to) in the advancement of the great literary project is a small one. I am content to occupy a seat at the copyist’s table and occasionally, if I may be so bold, I will add a comment or two. As much as I regard books as sacred objects, I am a meddlesome reader who does not cringe at writing in the margins. My entire literary life has been carried out in the narrow spaces at the edges of texts by other authors. And of late, it is the Spanish author, Enrique Vila-Matas, whose books have opened a door into an endless labyrinth, not just the labyrinth of the No, but labyrinth of the unfolding text, the labyrinth of the World Wide Web which is the ascension of the Gutenberg galaxy into the firmament of the Internet.
—Monday, 24 March 2014