The following short appears as part of a robust portfolio devoted to the French writer Éric Chevillard in Music & Literature no. 8. To view the complete contents of the volume and read extracts from other works, click here.


I began ejaculating when I was seven.

     It came to me one morning, just like that. I started ejaculating feverishly all over my schoolbooks.

     My parents disapproved. You’re not old enough to ejaculate. You’ll put an eye out.

     So what. I continued ejaculating in secret.

     I ejaculated, I ejaculated, I ejaculated, without fatigue, without boredom, without deviation, come hell or high water.

     I held in my hand a magic wand. I ejaculated certain that I was creating marvelous things.

     It was in my blood, to be sure. At the first free moment, did I play with marbles or chase girls? No. I did not watch television. I didn’t help my father in the garden. What did I do? I ejaculated.

     I used all of my leisure time for ejaculating.

     I ejaculated. It was uncontainable.

     At sixteen my ejaculations were strongly influenced by Rimbaud, but they weren’t very good now that I think about it.

     To be honest, what I ejaculated back then was worthless. Inconsistent. Peanuts. Flan. Eggnog.

     But already I took pleasure in it, incredible as that may seem. Ejaculating was my greatest joy.

     I devoted my vacations to it. At the age when others went out dancing at night, I was ejaculating.

     I got up in the middle of the night to ejaculate.

     I ejaculated whatever passed through my head. It didn’t go very far.

     I started to ejaculate for real around twenty. It became more personal, more substantial. I ejaculated as others might urinate or blow their noses.

     I ejaculated my sufferings, my burdens, my solitude.

     For I had cut myself off from the world somewhat, ejaculating alone in my room.

     It was around this time that I began to want to publicly share what I was ejaculating.

     At first, nobody wanted it. Your ejaculations will never interest anyone. It sounds laughable today, of course, and is no doubt difficult to believe, but at first I was often told such things.

     You don’t have anything good to ejaculate!

     You’re just not cut out for ejaculating!

     Stop ejaculating—now there’s a piece of advice I heard more than my fair share.

     And in fact I almost gave it up. I wanted to try something else. I wanted to vomit, or to lay eggs.

     But nothing would do. I had to ejaculate.

     It’s funny now to think that those people who tried to discourage me are the same ones who today pay me handsomely to go ejaculate for them.

     Because people literally fight over my ejaculations.

     I ejaculate for all the major presses.

     I ejaculate in all the major papers.

     At this point, I ejaculate wherever I want.

     Eminent professors invite their students to study closely what I ejaculate.

     And so I have a great demand to fill, and it can be difficult to deliver. Yes, there are times when I drink in order to ejaculate.

     And it impacts my home life. My wife feels neglected. Always ejaculating, she says to me sadly.

     Won’t you stop ejaculating for a moment and hold me in your arms? she sometimes asks me in a quiet little voice.

     As if I had nothing else to do. She must understand, though, that in my life ejaculating will always come first.

     What can I do? I was born to ejaculate.

     It’s my livelihood. I have to ejaculate.

     I ejaculate mostly at night, but sometimes I also ejaculate straight from morning to evening.

     Ejaculate each day, that’s my motto.

     If for some reason I go for more than twenty-four hours without ejaculating, it pains me. It’s awful.

     So it doesn’t matter where, but I must ejaculate.

     I ejaculate on restaurant placemats. I ejaculate on the back of subway tickets.

     Sometimes I even ejaculate on myself.

     Everything works, any surface: I can ejaculate on a coaster, in the margins of a newspaper, on a facial tissue.

     I prefer to ejaculate by hand rather than directly on the computer.

     Yes, I believe ejaculation is a sort of therapy for me, or certainly in any case a sort of catharsis.

     All that is repressed comes out when I ejaculate, all the incipient concupiscence.

     Ejaculating saved my life, I’m not afraid to say it.

     If I hadn’t ejaculated I wouldn’t be here today.

     More than once I have wanted to die, to kill myself—yes—and instead I ejaculated.

     And when you ejaculate in a moment like that it is so good, so powerful, that it nearly vibrates from all the emotion held in for too long.

     My most recent ejaculation, for instance, I ejaculated in a sort of trance—there’s no other word for it. It came all by itself.

     I barely had anything to ejaculate, and then it began to gush forth, and there it was.

     The whole first part I ejaculated all at once in Ibiza.

     I ejaculated the next part in New York.

     And I ejaculated the ending at home in Paris, door closed, phone off the hook. I need calm to ejaculate.

     It’s a burden too, ejaculation. It must be said. Those who are tempted to do it should know that it’s not always easy, that it can take a great deal of effort. Sometimes I have to force myself to ejaculate.

     So I go ejaculate in a café, or at a library, where there are people around and it’s less of a chore than ejaculating in the solitude of the office.

     I deny nothing when I ejaculate.

     It’s been said that my ejaculations convey something universal. It’s not hard to see why.

     Many people recognize themselves in my ejaculations. It’s like a mirror for them. I receive an enormous quantity of mail to this effect.

     I am invited with increasing frequency to schools to talk about my ejaculations.

     Why do you ejaculate? That’s the question I hear most often from the mouths of children.

     And I tell them I can’t do anything else. For me it is almost a physical, organic need to ejaculate.

     Frankly, I’m surprised that anyone can live without ejaculating.

     But at the same time, if you ask me, too many people today ejaculate. The moment someone becomes slightly famous for this or that reason, they are asked without fail to ejaculate something. I abhor the spread of this practice: in such a profusion of treacle, just try extracting the wheat from the chaff without getting stuck to the floor.

     I put my soul and my guts alike into everything I ejaculate: reconciled, unified, almost indistinguishable.

     I ejaculate only the truth.

     I am suspicious of people who need so many methods and complications to ejaculate.

     I’m sorry, but to me that’s not ejaculating.

     I ejaculate as I breathe.

     I ejaculate as I speak.

     I ejaculate without worrying about the beauty or the originality of the thing.

     I ejaculate because I exist, because I want people to know.

     My whole life is in what I ejaculate.

     Everything I experience I ejaculate straightaway.

     The main challenge is to forget the way we were taught to ejaculate and recapture the innocent joy of that first stroke.

     Hear the music of my sentence: flop.


Translated from the French by Daniel Levin Becker


Éric Chevillard was born in 1964 in La Roche-sur-Yon in the west of France. He published his first novel, Mourir m’enrhume (Dying Gives Me a Cold), at the age of twenty-three, and has since gone on to publish more than twenty works of fiction, including The Crab Nebula, On the Ceiling, Palafox, Prehistoric Times, Demolishing Nisard, and The Author and Me.

Daniel Levin Becker is an editor of The Believer and the youngest member of the Oulipo.