A Friend, the nothingness one needs…


ESTRAGON, sitting on a low mound, is trying to take off his  boot. He pulls at it with both hands, panting. He gives up, exhausted, rests, tries again. As before.
ESTRAGON : [Giving up again.] Nothing to be done.
VLADIMIR : [Advancing with short, stiff strides, legs wide apart.] I’m beginning to come round to that opinion. All my life I’ve tried to put it from me, saying, Vladimir, be reasonable, you haven’t yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle. [He broods, musing on the struggle. Turning to ESTRAGON.] So there you are again.
VLADIMIR : I’m glad to see you back. I thought you were gone for ever.
ESTRAGON : Me too.
VLADIMIR : Together again at last! We’ll have to celebrate this. But how? [He reflects.] Get up till I embrace you.
ESTRAGON : [Irritably.] Not now, not now.
VLADIMIR : [Hurt, coldly.] May one inquire where His Highness spent the night
ESTRAGON : In a ditch.
VLADIMIR : [Admiringly.] A ditch! Where?
ESTRAGON : [Without gesture.] Over there.
VLADIMIR : And they didn’t beat you?
ESTRAGON : Beat me? Certainly they beat me.
VLADIMIR : The same lot as usual?
ESTRAGON : The same? I don’t know.
VLADIMIR : When I think of it … all these years … but for me … where would you be …? [Decisively.] You’d be nothing more than a little heap of bones at the present minute, no doubt about it.
ESTRAGON : And what of it?
VLADIMIR : [Gloomily.] It’s too much for one man. [Pause. Cheerfully.] On the other hand what’s the good of losing heart now, that’s what I say. We should have thought of it a million years ago, in the nineties.
ESTRAGON : Ah stop blathering and help me off with this bloody thing.

– Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

James Joyce & Samuel Beckett


Beckett was addicted to silences, and so was Joyce; they engaged in conversations which consisted often of silences directed towards each other, both suffused with sadness, Beckett mostly for the world, Joyce mostly for himself. Joyce sat in his habitual posture, legs crossed, toe of the upper leg under the instep of the lower; Beckett, also tall and slender, fell into the same gesture. Joyce suddenly asked some such question as, ‘How could the idealist Hume write a history?’ Beckett replied, ‘A history of representation.’

– Richard Ellman’s, Joyce – A Biography