Becoming a Statue: Fearing Change

On the process of reverse personification in “The Statue and I” from Henri Michaux’s “Life in the Folds”.


Telepathy would be a wonder. Telekinesis an inestimable power.

Only after acquiring both we’d tackle teaching a stone slab to get up and move (maybe).


… we can immediately read Henri Michaux’s text The Statue and 1.

In my spare time, I’ve been teaching a statue to walk. Given its exaggeratedly prolonged immobility, it isn’t easy. Not for the statue. Not for me. Great distance separates us, I realize that.

The futility of teaching a statue to walk! The first line presents a paradox heralding a discussion, if not a resolution. The reader is drawn onwards.

The remainder of the paragraph claims the problem is real: this is no metaphorical statue (reserve judgment on that) and the narrator is aware of the difficulties.

A few lines later in the text, the moral of a perennial piece of advice is reversed; instead of reassurance that a journey begins with a single step, implying any first step, just get going, we read:

What matters is that [the statue’s] first step be a good one. Everything depends on that first step.

This is doubly unsettling. Continue reading “Becoming a Statue: Fearing Change”