Hans Hofmann, Untitled, 1945 Gouache on Paper 17 × 14 in 43.2 × 35.6 cm.


Afterword of the recently released book “Everything I Thought But Didn't Say Last Night”, by Helena Tabatchnik.



During these strange days that used to be called “homeland week”, I wasn't exactly off duty, but trying to reduce the accumulation of unanswered messages in my computer's mailbox, writing down academic theses and dissertations, writing opinions on research reports, etc. ., etc. I also dug some time for other readings and I suddenly had the impulse to stop everything and write you a letter today.

No big deal, I admit. Only, something consistent with my purposes of testing, on a public holiday, certain current conditions of impossibility. Impossibility of a reading that, without fearing pedantry, would be meditative reading. That's why I have to warn you right away: I won't be as brief as in emails, I won't be as brief as in letters that are nothing more than enlarged notes. I will be what I have to be, daring to count on your good will.

What I need to tell you initially, Xará, is this: when I got to the end of Anna P.'s first book, Everything I thought but didn't say last night, you are no longer a mere equivalent of the letter S in Anna's slippery schedule. More than a secondary character in the list of the protagonist's libidinous adventures, you were more like a kind of hologram with a social name. And he continued advancing and accompanying me by the initials of the erotic alphabet, until, having reached the X of my question, he ended up transforming himself into someone who inhales and exhales, thinks on his own and questions me. Despite an intimacy that I wouldn't intend to force, you might one day answer me using the same name that is, I must admit, a bit abrupt: the name of Xará.

Well, I devoured the first book by Anna P. And I saw that it was good. In truth, however, there remained a question of tact which, involved in the equation, compelled me to slowly spell out everything that, during the reading, I was saying to myself.

I resumed the book from the first page, let the cigarette act as incense in the ashtray and minutes later – interrupted reading here, marginal notes there – I allowed myself to daydream through the afternoon.

At first I thought I was going to send a copy of the letter to our Author: I looked for pleasant words, a more or less elegant arrangement of argument, I even rehearsed twists, premeditating the epilogue. I would write a correspondence type, clandestine genre, the light tempo, the slender subtype. Think, I thought. Search, I searched. – But Xará, the thing is so angry, the thing is so angry, that it is a case of writing it with capital letters. And who knows? Write it with K: Koisa ugly.

You fell in love and had raw sex with the protagonist. Published Anna, the one from the first book, wasn't the only one to hear from you. Zelito, who also appears on Z on the oral abc and who I found out to be our mutual friend, told me a few things. To confirm. “Your Xará” – Zelito told me – “is visibly wasting away, it doesn’t even look like he was once a flesh and blood person”. You know that Zelito is given to lyricism in these uncertain times, and he also wrote me something more or less like this: that you've been brooding in the nooks and crannies of your bedroom, curled up in folds and refolds of the sheet, molding memories of her body in pillow scents and mattress hollows.

For him, who has a good heart and would not speak ill of you, the worst thing is that you took to inventing proverbs and sentences, phrases and acrostics such as “jealousy is this”, “envy is that”; “love is this, sex is that”. Zelito even attributed to you a Freudian variation that made him uneasy, something like: where the This is, that has to be. He thinks that deep down it is, on his part, a cry for help. In short, a collection of desperate moments that should not be read in terms of self-help, but as an attempt to balance yourself on the edge of the precipice, to get rid of romantic tendencies so that one day you will stop living on the sidelines of Anna, the re-edited .

I finished rereading all i thought and I intend to stick to the preliminaries of Anna P.'s second book, Of love and other brutalities. You can assume that I prefer the Xará present in the comings and goings of my memory to the discreet Sílvio who appears – I counted three times – there in the first book. Because it is to that Xará that things happen, not to Sílvio. Xará walks through São Paulo and lingers outside the Mario de Andrade Library. If André's somewhat exhibitionist bias does not mislead us – another name from ABC to whom Sílvio was not introduced –, Xará really likes Berta Dunkel's watches, tries to place himself in the historical time zones of Paulo Arantes and appreciates the liberties that Gilberto Tedeia takes with the Brazilian critical tradition. Apparently André disagrees with Zelito regarding the point of out-of-the-ordinary romanticism, making a point of adding, to his taste, a daily dose of minimum morality, overcoming the impasses between the prose of the world and the poetry of the heart, an assiduous frequentation of the pages of clear riddle.

In these matters of taste, I don't know if Zelito or André is right. I know that Yan – another of our mutual friends, a facebook friend – would be astonished if you didn't share such preferences as Sílvio stricto de Anna P. I suspect that he sees all of this that I say to him in a less high-sounding way than it might appear on the surface. written in these lines; he takes all those names less seriously, as much as the contending particles they can or must signify.

This thing about sound and phonemes, distinguishing word from word, person from person, is unstable territory. Yan, there on his digital page, appears to be more playful, scaling his own legendary qualities as an actor, librarian, scenographer, playwright and so on. He's a turnaround guy. But he would not recognize himself, for example, in the old label of a factotum. We have our distances, as you can see, but I emphasize that such a distance is not enough to justify me.

I wish I could be sure that you, Xará, having survived Anna P.'s first book and being absent from the second, in a third the girl might reserve for you, time, place and time.

Bruno calls me from time to time to give me fresh news about him. He has, on the tip of his tongue, statements about his whereabouts, and some of his certainties amuse me, others, frankly, embarrass me. He claims that you have never set foot in Rio das Voltas, that you are never found in Of love. That in fact you are traveling around the world, that you are used to strolling through a distant and submerged Pompeii, there where there would be room for brand new loves, cupids that would have remained in the state of architecture in thaw.

Through hills and valleys you flee the river of lava, escaping the misfortune of seeing your feet, calves and knees petrified. Bruno assures that after wandering for a long time on the slopes of Herculaneum or Estabia, Nucéria or Oplantis, you end up staying in the latent time of an archaeological site.

I don't know if it's worth insisting on this point. There were nights when Bruno heard Anna calling out to you, Xará – her troubled dreams. For him, who has no qualms about displaying his delusions in public, Anna P.'s fate reaches many men. It is.

I want to believe that Bruno is saying: Anna, this volcanic woman, contributes to freeing readers (and female readers) from the insane saga of becoming men. In this case, it lit the cold embers of disillusionment in the family, betting that its eruptions will fertilize the soliloquy of those who read it. She did not imagine or did not give importance to the fact that such readers – second edition out of print – would enter into a dialogue. I think that for the time being, only Bruno has eyes to see you, an always sleepless Xará, wandering through the streets and alleys of Pompeii, immersed in a night that is more nocturnal than any night. You, among the people awakened by the smell of sulphur, the surprised bathers in the hot springs, the lethal clouds, the rain of fine ash and scorched pebbles. Because Anna wrote some luminous things. Like a glimmer that, starting in the dark rooms of the house, then reappears through the furniture at its points of incandescence. Then night comes again. And everything is night.

Due to what goes on in these times, ours, I wouldn't want to spend my time in lyricism ghettos. Bruno underlines, however, these parallel lives of Sílvio, on the margins of the second book. The last time he wrote to me, it was just typing that you collected epigrams collected along the Via Venerea. And he adds something along the lines of this: near the top of Mount Vesuvius, right on the edge of the crater, Silvio learned to see, not the abyss, but a lake; around, not a workshop of unfinished tombstones, but pieces of temple and statue, taken as a living model. I don't say no. But if everything turns into a symptom, the diagnosis does not only involve Bruno, but each one of us, Xará. Even beyond Beltrano, the symptomatology compromises the B that appears and reappears in the second book. As you already know, but it doesn't hurt to remember, what happened between them – Anna and B – that's what she tells in Of love and other brutalities.

Let's move on to Of love. Anna presents herself with the recoil of someone who has taken note of everything and hand-picked the barbarities that constitute family life. There are two or three decisive episodes in a marital conflict: the disappointments, spicy, are full of intimate surprise and a delicate suspense. These are scenarios where the cell phone is a mutating device, sometimes a whip that lashes out from a long distance, sometimes a peccary that ends up finishing off what was dead and dead. The person who talks to me like that is Caio. Anna delimits the latent separations of a couple compressed into exchange-to-exchange communication, virtual negotiations and a manifest separation, all preparing to contrast, vividly, with the real conversations that Anna will have with her son, Quim.

I agree with Fábio when he points out that these last conversations will lead to the most lively time in the book. It is the presential gift of a mother, once so Brazilian, involved with her baby, sometimes so related to the molds of a Winnicotian reuse. Thales, not the physiologist of the primordial waters, Thales Ab'Saber explains. Here I am the one who can assure you: the philosopher of psychoanalysis will accept an invitation to sit with us at the bar table, have a pleasant conversation about the free association of ideas or spend a more intense conversation. For example, variation of Hegelian phrases on days off: Quim's growth is the death of all parents.

But Xará, I leave these very profound things aside a little to tell you that B does not match Anna P's wishes at all. Except for remote echoes that play from cell phone to cell phone, B barely distinguishes the dancer from the weightlifter, infinitesimal intervals that for a second they give Anna back – in full – her father's name. Between us, I suppose you, bro with bristly fingernails, would pick some ripe fruit there. He wouldn't be licking the arms of the sofa alone. Would you stay?

So you can see that, also on this point, I disagree with Zelito. Just as I disagree with Bruno: Anna did not allow the mating dances to take her body, or Quim's, to a Pompeii situated on the eve of the disaster. No kidnapping of gods or kidnapping of demons, it is worth saying that at the right time, she screamed for the name of a man: – Beltrano! It turns out that the guy ended up diluted precisely in that B de Beltrano. Night when all cats are gray? Not at all. In the impossibility of saying all these men in an advanced state of petrification, he speaks of all and of none, expressing the very impossibility of expression.

What I now need is an aside. I have a friend and correspondent, Edu, a boy from Soteropolitan, stocked with letters and of rare value, who recalls a case of the Swarabactic vowel. It is a particular case of a temptation to which you, Xará, should not sacrifice your phrases. “Absolutely”. And notice how the secondary accent, falling on the syllable of i, strikes a different tone, much clearer than in the speech of a wife who, like Laura in the first book, said: “I was indignant”, “I do not admit”.

Anna, in turn, is a woman of many people. This is where I agree with Rafa and perhaps disagree with Paulo, obviously not Arantes, but that one, in a reckless letter, foolishly suggests that Anna change analysts. In her, however, what grows, appears and multiplies is the presence of mind. There are also, with an autobiographical retreat, countless multiples of zero that, in cursive reading, from left to right and from left to right, promise a naked nullity. Let's say – this time with Olavo and also with Otávio – that the whole interest of the second book resides less in nudity, and more, in the very unveiling of life: life, considered natural and familiar, was confined to nothing less than nothing.

But then you will ask me: what is left of all these annihilations? I answer with pleasure: I especially like those moments when Anna does not insist on the (redundant) destruction of familism in the Brazilian fashion of the house; when, before, she perseveres in trying to make a living use of the disjointed limbs of survival, in twos or threes. This is also where my friend Gilberto's testimony goes – in passing: a subtype of movement that appears in the rubble, which is as close to the bodies as possible and which allows us to glimpse a No Man's Land, very similar to our current habitat. .

Such an effort at truthfulness – now I'm the one asking myself, Xará: – will it have any liberating effect? You will tell me that this question unfolds on many levels, those of that capacity for invention that our Author never tires of putting to the test. Yes, at first glance the invention seems unpretentious, as the surface is quite used to venting. Didn't our dear Vicente write to you? His hunch is that the proximity of the remorse is excessive and it haunts the reading a little. What is pursued, however – and I disagree with our friend from Buenos Aires – is always something else. As in the case of a displaced Medea, the foreground is shadow. Or again: a ghost that needs to be exorcised.

From this angle, I want to discount our disagreement with Bruno and do justice to his quest for precision in delusions. Intuitively, of course, right from the start, Anna already occupies other levels of obscenity. Faced with the routinized manner of contemporary exhibitionism, she differs. She doesn't slave; it erupts. She doesn't spit; implodes. It exposes to shame, therefore, the persistent and commonplace unfeasibility of the patriarchal monogamous family. I don't want to move on to what I called living time in the second book without first telling you that in the first book Anna – Anna in a hurry and as if everything was for now – passed from letter to letter, without a name to vocalize them.

He went through an anonymous society of men to make them act immediately, with emotional or expressive power: consonantally, they entered a nightmare landscape for the reader to see, interpret, review, think. Former men. The brevity of the notation imposed on the reading a legitimate desire for disalienation; and an impulse, arguable, to pass on. But the best, in my opinion, lay in the mismatch of these rhythms: precisely, in dysrhythmia it would be possible to stand up and, with luck, draw a leap out of the repetition of what is always the same. Already by the second book, the lively city sprouts and sprouts diverse. In the record of survival in rubble, to speak like Gilberto, something precious seems to be enclosed, an I don't know what lengthy deed, with a promised pearl and as such unfulfilled in the grain of sand of shells, classes and ethnicities. However, outside the shell, the register changes. It's a birth, Xará. You, if it's true that you've been polishing adagios and apothegms, could you summarize this patchwork of specific faunas and generalized involution: – niche of relatives, nest of serpents.

Hence a question that, if I'm not mistaken, has been quietly preparing the living time of the second book. Question of reversibility, Xará, what I formulate for when you are willing to leave the house and answer me: would there be a lot of antidote to extract from this overdose of everyday poisoning? Time to turn the page. Leaving the cabinet of customized objects of desire, saying goodbye to lacanages, waving, why not?, to a more intimate Lacan, Jacques without fatalisms. Enter the vestibules of Eros and other civilized enormities. If you want, also take note: more for the enjoyment of healing than for the enjoyment of falling ill.

From what I'm going to tell you in this letter below, the page, Xará, would ask for a subtitle. Hélio, careful Hélio, would suggest something that evoked the arc of an inverted nihilism. What I feel now, in the slow dusk of this dismal day, is this: parabolic pulsation; neither Greek nor Roman; Hebrew. Let's put the subtitle simply: Mães & Filhos.

Despite the much resentment, resorting to the baby, the son Quim as a composition element, would be a common solution and also an easy one. This is, however, only for the coldness of those who keep repeating that paternity is uncertain and, at the same time, remain insensitive to the usual load of responsibilities and contemporary burdens of accountability. The latter undoubtedly have different weight and value, especially in a country of mothers left to their own devices. They show, however, an Anna situated light years away from becoming a well-behaved mother.

So it would be worth taking your time, Xará, in the moments when Anna writes to Beltrano and warns: she has been all this time “trying to talk about things within their complexity”. Anna P., rare bird, thinks as she writes. If Zelito is right in what he says about his tendencies and inclinations towards polished writing, you may well be able to go back to those things that I only scribble here: after the complications of adult life, the simplicity achieved in the grace of a child; from which you can see that childish graces do not cancel out unfunny childishness.

In the love lozenge that I translate for my own use, it would be a case of giving vent to two or three vigorous assertions. The combination of maternal authenticity and marital foolishness is certainly a find. Despite all the search for energy, effort in living together and engagements for a metamorphosis of interdependent relationships, what turns into the short circuit of affections are the bodies themselves in relation, or rather, the intercorporeities.

They saw documents of a subordinate social stratum which, handwriting its brief occupation in the contemporary scene, is a zoological species under permanent threats – and blackmail – of extinction. You would say, without complicating things more than necessary: ​​the most alive in the alive is taken alive, the instant that precedes death or the supposed impossibility of conversion. Let us now turn the floor over to Anna P. when the girl speaks in conversational language:

I went back to my class with my tail between my legs

I came back with my tail between my legs and a five-month-old child in my arms.

I went back to the neighborhood where I was born and went back to university.

I went back to family and friends from before.

I don't recognize myself at all.

The most palpable consequence, Xará, will be an extraordinary word-of-mouth to the child. As you approach the end of this second book, you will not fail to notice that the intensity of maternal care goes beyond the realms of petty-bourgeois normality. Seeking refuge in a nascent wisdom, the composition takes advantage of this inevitable movement that takes the baby from the second to the fourth year of life. It is a whole preschool of desire, a pedagogy in which life goes further than pedagogy. Leaving the captivity of familial passions, for these and other reasons, leads to who knows where. Because we still don't know.

So much the better for the book. For reasons that are intrinsic to her, Anna uses but does not abuse what the classics called grace, that is: beauty in motion. You will resume the thread by saying that from now on we do not know what misfortunes Anna P. will venture into. But it is true that at this step the paths fork and I don't hide my balance when it leans towards Quim. On the one hand, Freud, disguised as a thinker of culture, whispers in his mother's ear: His Majesty The Baby.

But at the same time we see Quim, the son who does not need to spend time in throne and altar governance: Quim limits himself to painting the seven with the words he has just learned, or even, he makes the devil with the words he has just begun to invent. ; such glimpses of a healthy narcissism in children can fill the reader with moving joy. On the other hand, Xará, it is equally certain that, given the very impossibility of a Brazilian tragedy, bro Bruno will be supplied with reasons when he says “– It is a pleasure to read Anna: your libido, like Medea, will be stronger than the things you she wants”.

You can already tell I'm not going to apologize for this long letter. If you imagine how much it annoys me to write it like that, on the official independence day! You know how much I love you and I may not even please you with my game of mirrors, but, Xará, in the volatile appreciation for tell-me-say, it would be a real delight for me to know what Denis, Ivan, Jaime, Kleber, Marcos, Thiago, Wilson. Because, frankly, there are many and suggestive points of contact between you, Anna and Quim. Some will be more mysterious and others more explicit, like those that arise from the babble of male and female readers talking to each other. For these and other reasons, I hope that you will write to me, without any hurry, but soon.

In closing, I need to tell you that Anna still wants, can, likes it. Vicente really takes a liking to the jugutear: he says that, all things considered in our conversations and disagreements, Anna came back Latin Americanized. Resuming the result in the light of all i thought and the somewhat volcanic tisne Of love, I make a final point of telling you: the result is not a second book, but a diptych. In vigorous strokes, this diptych merges erotic mosaic, animal heat in their human animality, ambushes of class struggle. It is a conditional revelation: if it were at the nexus between Eros & Politics, it would only reach us through successive approximations: in a tiny delicacy, through Quim's prism.

In the “erotic dream”, which ends the second book, Anna will be with her feet suspended, naked, among the men. I see her from the back, dancer, hands raised, spinning around. Carrying out, in a style of deformation that only the text can shape, her own desire. On second thought, Xará, when every change feels like a downfall, the Anna case means it's fitting that we shouldn't fear the nameless city. Nobody has returned, at least until today, to their own class. And it's only now that I realize: if in fact I'm the one writing these lines, it's because somehow we've already left, together, out of those initials on which our names were anchored.

For today only.

Silvio, September 07, 2017

* Silvio Rosa Filho Professor of Philosophy at the Federal University of São Paulo.


Helena Taatchnik. Everything I thought but didn't say last night. São Paulo, Nankin Editorial, 2021, 224 pages.

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