We write, we paint, throughout our entire lives as if we were going to a foreign country, as if we were foreigners inside our own family, “hinas in die Fremde der Heimat,” as Celan writes, that is where we go. Between the writer and his or her family the question is always one of departing while remaining present, of being absent while in full presence, of escaping, of abandon. It is both utterly banal and the thing we don’t want to know or say. A writer has no children; I have no children when I write. When I write I escape myself, I uproot myself, I am a virgin; I leave from within my own house and I don’t return. The moment I pick up my pen – magical gesture – I forget all the people I love; an hour later they are not born and I have never known them. Yet we do return. But for the duration of of the journey we are killers.
– from The School of the Dead by Helene Cixous