… “who is me today?” “who holds the place of me?”
This is from The Step Not Beyond by Maurice Blanchot (1992):
… During the day there were the daytime acts, the day-to-day words, the day-to-day writing, affirmations, values, habits, nothing that counted and yet something that one had confusedly to call life. The certainty that in writing he was putting between parentheses precisely this certainty including the certainty of himself as the subject of writing, led him slowly, though right away, into an empty space whose void (the barred zero, heraldic) in no way prevented the turns and detours of a very long process.
[ … ]
… If I write he/it, denouncing it rather than indicating it, far from giving it a rank, a role or presence which would elevate it above anything that could designate it, it is I who, from this, enter into the relation in which “I” accepts solidification into a fictional or functional identity, in order that the game of writing may be played, of which he/it is either the partner and (at the same time) the product of the gift …
[ … ]
… As if there had reverberated, in a muffled way, this call, a call nevertheless joyful, the cry of children playing in the garden: “who is me today?” “who holds the place of me?” and the answer, joyful, infinite: him, him, him.
[ … ]
… It was like an eternal subject of pleasantry, an innocent game: “You met them in the street?” — “Not exactly in the street: near the river, looking at books, then leaving or losing themselves in the crowd.” — “That could not be so; and, rather young, aren’t they?” — “Young?” One had to stop at this word which involved, demanded, and promised too much; he did not concede it willingly until he let himself go ahead and answer — “Yes, young, there was no other word; and yet, young without anything that makes their age a moment of themselves, or youth a characteristic of age; young, but as in another time, thus not so young, as if youth made them ancient or too new to be able to appear only young.” — “How you have observed them; did you have time? was it possible? is it possible?” — “It was not, in fact, but neither was it possible to meet them”