Roer o Roído. The Blog as helminthology.*

Machado writes:
    Cheguei a pegar em livros velhos, livros mortos, livros enterrados, a abri-los, a compará-los, catando o texto e o sentido...Catei os próprios vermes dos livros, para que me dissessem o que havia nos textos roídos por eles. - Meu senhor - respondeu-me um longo verme gordo -, nós não sabemos absolutamente nada dos textos que roemos, nem escolhemos o que roemos, nem amamos ou detestamos o que roemos; nós roemos. Não lhe arranquei mais nada. Os outros todos, como se houvessem passado palavra, repetiam a mesma cantilena. Talvez esse discreto silêncio sobre os textos roídos fosse ainda um modo de roer o roído.

    I began to pick up old books, dead books, buried books, opening them, comparing them, looking for the text and meaning...I even picked up the worms in the books, so that they could tell me what the books contained that they chewed on. "Sir," a long fat worm told me, "we know absolutely nothing about the texts that we chew on, nor do we choose which texts we chew, nor do we love or hate that which we chew; we chew." I couldn't get anything else from him. And the others, as if they spread the word, repeated the same story. Perhaps this discrete silence about the gnawed texts was still a way to chew the chewed. (my own translation)
In Machado de Assis’s Dom Casmurro, the protagonist takes it into his head to write. In order to do this he begins to consume a great quantity of books, and, frustrated at his inability to take in or access sufficient information, he ultimately resorts to questioning the worms that live in (and on) the books, asking them to tell him what it is that they eat. The worms answer that they know not what they eat, they simply consume. The protagonist then wonders if this refusal of revelation is itself a prolonging of the act of consumption, a way to consume what had already been consumed. Here, the Brazilian writer gives us the image of the reader as worm, consuming the dead letter and yet without the destructive resolution of identification: the text is maintained in the act of consumption, not resolved into (until it becomes identical) with the self.

So here is where I chew on some texts and ideas: consume them, play with them, associate and disassociate with them.