A return to theory, and to the wonder of Helene Cixous’ writing … this, from her book, The Day I Wasn’t There, an autobiographical novel about the birth and death of the narrator’s first child, an infant born with Down Syndrome. Throughout the book, the narrator/Cixous struggles to come to terms with both his life and his death, her absence from his life and death, and how all of this relates to her own life. It is hauntingly beautiful and terribly tragic, all at the same time.

It’s this human porosity that bothers me and that I can’t escape since it is the fault of my skin, the extra sense which is everywhere in my being, this lack of eyelids on the face of my soul, or perhaps this imaginary lack of imaginary lids, this excessive facility I have for catching others, I am caught by person or things animated or unanimated that I don’t even frequent, and even the verb catch I catch or rather I am caught by it, for, note this please, it’s not I who wish to change, it’s the other who gets his hoods in me for lack of armor ….
(Helene Cixous, The Day I Wasn’t There, trans. Beverley Brie Brahic, Northwestern University Press, 2006)


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