“Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same. More than one person, doubtless like me, writes in order to have no face.” -Michel Foucault
I don’t know what to do about Foucault. The real one. The one who wrote ‘in order to have no face’ .
The one who said his personal life was ‘nobody’s business’.
I have made it my business. I have invented a daughter for Foucault and I want to know him through her. I have read his books and I have got to know him through his own words.
But I love this writer, this man, this ghost. I do actually respect his wishes. Even though he is dead, even though he said ‘nothing is fundamental’…
I have clicked on weblinks once or twice, looking for quotes by Michel, only to stumble on descriptions of parts of his life. I know he suffered. He would have to have really wouldn’t he? To be who he was. How else could he have written ‘Madness and Civilisation’ except by experiencing some madness, some interruptions to his civilisation?
I know how he died.
But I have turned away from these biographical descriptions. Partly as it genuinely feels like intruding on the life of a man who made it very clear he did not want to be intruded upon ‘I value my privacy’. Partly because biography is always fiction anyway so what would I learn except for some juicy titbits to pepper my story with?
And partly I am reticent because, well, because I am a traitor and all I have said above is a total lie. I am plundering this man’s biography, taking his life as it was lived, and re-imagining it in a totally different way. Foucault’s daughter can only come into life by putting Foucault himself into some kind of shade… questioning his morality and his consistency. That’s what she seems to be doing anyway. I don’t want the ‘facts’ to get in the way of my story
In my defence I will say, that this little girl appeared in my world, and I feel kind of protective of her. She is my responsibility and I don’t want to let her down. Let’s face it, her papa was bound to have let her down, big time. He always had his head in a book, his mind on the indefinable nature of power. He would not have been able to be ‘Michel Foucault’ and a great dad. Something had to give, and history suggests what he would have sacrificed. So I am sacrificing his ‘biography’. He didn’t think it was relevant anyway.
All writers are killers. All writers are magpies, highwaymen, adulterers.
At least I confess my sins.
And when I say I love Foucault I mean it with all my heart. But we all know what lovers are like don’t we?
Lovers are the worst of all.
I’m telling you stories. Trust me.