Literature is not simply about a story whose value and meanings are unilaterally “given” by the author to the reader: it is a form of communication between them. And, as Sartre said, a reader also creates a story while reading one.
There are things authors cannot write, or deem impossible to express in writing, but readers can still read them between the lines. Literature consists of written texts and unwritten texts, and it is the way a reader discovers the unwritten meanings where the true value of a literary work is to be found.
Here, I would like to quote an aphorism by Marcel Proust, “misreadings occurring in a beautiful book are all beautiful,” which is still relevant to communication and design.
Things that should have been written—could they have been written at all? Osamu Dazai, one of the most famous novelists in Japan, wrote the following passage in his No Longer Human:
“Now I have neither happiness nor unhappiness.
That is the one and only thing I have thought resembled a truth in the society of human beings where I have dwelled up to now as in a burning hell.
This year I am twenty-seven. My hair has become much greyer. Most people would take me for over forty.”
The last paragraph is not intended as a mere description of his state at the moment. To those who have read the novel so far, it represents his entire life: the pains that the man had to go through all the way up to this paragraph.
Some things are lost when they are put into words. How to write them? How not to write them? An author’s judgment and skills regarding these questions critically affect the quality of the work. But also, how may readers read the unwritten on top of the written text? Some things remain unwritten precisely because they must be communicated—these are the things that authors and readers share.
We often see a typical scene on TV or in films where a concentrated writer keeps crumpling pages on which he/she was writing and throwing them away on a pile of paper balls. As a metaphor for the difficulty of communication, the difficulty of writing, I use “crumpled paper,” on which moving images are projected to form a collage.