'To drill one hole after another into it [language] until that which lurks behind, be it something or nothing, starts seeping through — I cannot imagine a higher goal for today's writer'  

       Samuel Beckett, letter to Axel Kaun, 9 July 1937


'I am starting a Logoclast's League. May I count on your support? I am the only member at present. The idea is mystical writing, so that the void may protrude like a hernia.'

     Samuel Beckett, letter to Mary Manning, 16 February 1937


Silence, 'the void', 'something' or 'nothing' are the things Beckett seeks. They are also the mystic's pursuit.

     I personally think that such goals are more difficult for a writer to attain than a painter or a musician because words, by their very nature, point; 'are' something, are so differentiating, so specific (the virulence of the attack that must be launched on the medium is hinted at above when Beckett talks about drilling holes in it, and the contrary nature of 'the void' to the means of encountering it: a hernia - an aberration - as distinct to the surrounding flesh; ironically the void is the dense, fleshy object here, while the ordinary, non-mystical is the cavity which contains it and through which it protrudes).

     Though perhaps words are also perfectly suited to courting the mystical, the no-thing, existing as they do, in a way, nowhere; 'not' themselves but always another.

              Note 6:

Beckett and Mysticism


stories and things



leaving the text alone

Beckett and mysticism

why real directors are writers

Dr Seuss and Tom McCarthy

why the novelist's job is harder than God's

the thing about autobiographical fiction

how to write a successful novel

George Herbert and Judith McPherson

the value of not doing

thoughts on TLOD

don't judge a book

things I was thinking when writing TLOD

time, words, are the enemy

the master's voice


why I didn't want to write anymore

the value of not knowing

when do you give up on a book?


what makes a book great

divine fancy


time, identity and fiction