Jorge Luis Borges on the double-existence of the lifelong artist: “It is to my other self, to Borges, that things happen… Borges creative intelligence

“I do not mind admitting that he has managed to write a few worthwhile pages, but these pages cannot save me. Perhaps because good writing belongs to nobody, not even to my other, but rather to language itself, to the tradition.

“I am doomed to oblivion, utterly doomed, and no more than certain flashes of my existence can survive in the work of my other.

“Little by little I am surrendering everything to him, although I am well aware of his perverse habit of falsifying and exaggerating. I recognise myself much less in the books he writes than in many others or in the clumsy plucking of a guitar.

“And so, my life leaks away and I lose everything, and everything passes into oblivion, or to my other.

“I cannot tell which one of us is writing this page.”

From “Borges & I”  (trans. Alistair Reid) in Who’s Writing This? Fifty-five Writers on Humor, Courage, Self-loathing and the Creative Process, edited by Daniel Halpern.

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