Saturday, February 25, 2012

Édouard Levé on Suicide and Other Things

Following is what photographer and writer Édouard Levé wrote about himself in the Paris Review before he committed. Here he confesses to have attempted suicide, and having been tempted to commit it more than once, succeeding ultimately. More of it here.

I cannot sleep beside someone who moves around, snores, breathes heavily, or steals the covers. I can sleep with my arms around someone who doesn't move. I have attempted suicide once, I've been tempted four times to attempt it. The distant sound of a lawn mower in summer brings back happy childhood memories. I am bad at throwing. I have read less of the Bible than of Marcel Proust. Roberto Juarroz makes me laugh more than Andy Warhol. Jack Kerouac makes me want to live more than Charles Baudelaire. La Rochefoucauld depresses me less than Bret Easton Ellis. Joe Brainard is less affirmative than Walt Whitman. I know Jacques Roubaud less well than Georges Perec. Gherasim Luca is the most full of despair. I don't see the connection between Alain Robbe-Grillet and Antonio Tabucchi. When I make lists of names, I dread the ones I forget. From certain angles, tanned and wearing a black shirt, I can find myself handsome. I find myself ugly more often than handsome. I like my voice after a night out or when I have a cold. I am unacquainted with hunger. I was never in the army. I have never pulled a knife on anyone. I have never used a machine gun. I have fired a revolver. I have fired a rifle. I have shot an arrow. I have netted butterflies. I have observed rabbits. I have eaten pheasants. I recognize the scent of a tiger. I have touched the dry head of a tortoise and an elephant's hard skin. I have caught sight of a herd of wild boar in a forest in Normandy. I ride. I do not explain. I do not excuse. I do not classify. I go fast. I am drawn to the brevity of English, shorter than French.

People who commit suicide go through extremes: mood swings, indecision, moral ambiguities, etc. However, I don't know if someone has expressed himself so well when it comes to actual feelings of a suicide. Look at the attached graph of suicides in Indian states. It shows Pondicherry in number one position followed by Andaman & Nicobar and then -- Lo and Behold! -- Kerala. Not a good sign this. 

Hat tips to Athiran for the link.

I am @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. I blog here.

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