To Willing Conflators Of Jean-Paul Sartre And Jeremy Todd (eightieth letter)

Dear Friends,
These not sent letters are a habit, and besides, they’re my work. For a long time, I took my art for a sword; I now know we’re powerless. No matter. I make and will keep making not sent letters; they’re needed; all the same, they do serve some purpose.  Art doesn’t save anything or anyone, it doesn’t justify. But it’s a product of us: we project ourselves into it, we recognize ourselves in it; that critical mirror alone offers us our image. Moreover, that old, crumbling structure, my imposture, is also my character: one gets rid of a neurosis, one doesn’t get cured of one’s self.  Though they are worn out, blurred, humiliated, thrust aside, ignored, all of the child’s traits are still to be found in someone in their fifties. Most of the time they lie low, they bide their time; at the first moment of in-attention, they rise up and emerge, disguised; I claim sincerely to be practicing only for my time, but my present singularity annoys me; it’s not for want of glory or praise, since I continue, and yet that’s enough to belie my old dreams; could it be that I still harbor them secretly? I have, I think, adapted them: since I’ve long lost the chance of dying celebrated, I sometimes flatter myself that I’m being misunderstood in my lifetime.
So try to figure it out. As for me, I can’t, and I sometimes wonder whether I’m not playing winner loses and not trying hard to stamp out my one-time hopes so that everything will be restored to me a hundredfold. In that case, I would be Philoctetes; that magnificent and stinking cripple gave everything away unconditionally, including his bow; but we can be sure that he’s secretly waiting for his reward.
What I like about my madness is that it has protected me from the very beginning against the charms of the “elite”: never have I thought that I was the happy possessor of a “talent”; my sole concern has been to save myself — nothing in my hands, nothing up my sleeve — by work and faith. As a result, my pure choice did not raise me above anyone. Without equipment, without tools, I set all of me to work in order to save all of me. If I relegate impossible Salvation to the proproom, what remains?  A whole person, composed of all people and as good as all of them and no better than any.
jeremy