Tilo Schulz
9 Letters – from the drawings by Nikola Röthemeyer

I have arrived. Here in this place. Or rather, at this place. I am close. Not yet within. It will take days. But you must know, that I am now here and will be for some time.
I know your fear of not reaching me through your thoughts, your thinking about me. A fear that I have often seen. In front of me. Within you. A tremor that could shake whole worlds. Yet it was your body, your pale stoical eyes, your fingers, thighs. Quietude abandons you with lost thoughts of me.
Now you know me (safe). You can send me your urge, can send me words. You can send them across the water, to me, to this place. This wonderful, this strange place.
Now I am here and would like to become active, would like to be active. To jump, to water, to carry, to carry about, to care and to sit. To sit again and again, with and without. To sit at the wheel of thread and line, a line drawn across a sheet a thousandfold, curving.

I went to bed early. I have hardly slept, maybe not at all. Morning came and I arose. I arose in the early hours to the chirping and gliding of birds. Above me, on me. They were with me and around me. In flight and feathers. Dark and soft, with every line, with every mark on their feathers (and on the sheet). I stood and they came. They came flying from the sides and from above. They reached for me with open wings, lifted me and filled my feathers with air. There was no floor, had never been one. I rose to see the world below me and strode away, carried by feathers of slowness and already abandoned by my black companions. Then I saw them, the pillars of this world. The aviaries, hoop skirts, cages and foldings. To others a web of constraints but to me freedom, simple freedom, retreat, hiding place and my protection. They are less of a cage from which I cannot escape, but more of a … (wish), that others do not enter. Cannot and will not enter. It is my space, very close to me. It is below the skirts, the feathers, in the folds. My space to let be, to let happen, to let leave, to become involved in the world and with the world, with animals and things and actions. Not with people.

I did not step out of the house. Neither out of the house nor out of the room. The walls have dissolved, have vanished into threads and lines. They penetrate the inside and the space between the walls, the absent walls. Line beside line, placed with urge, vigour and clarity, without fear or restraint. Here, a hand intervenes with space, with life, with the image. And this hand lets walls fade away, it becomes a river flow of lines, drawn. Trees, dressers, red stockings, hips. I am carried by the lines, the river of threads. It feels mature and safe. Nothing is unachievable. The line, the drawn line finds its way though brushwood and across the white sheet. The off-white sheet. It binds. Me to the chair, the window to the tree and your eye to the sheet.

today is a bright day. Sunless, with crisp contours and no shadows. They are waiting for me. The stag, the armadillo, the kingfisher, dressers, fabrics, threads, lines. There are things to do, many things. They are waiting for me. Outside and afield. I have to go, go towards them and out of my room. I have to act. There. By them. With them. They are my companions and I want to journey with them across the world , across the sheets, the off-white sheets. With them, on the tip of a pen, I want to charge across the lines, the drawn lines.

days have passed since my last lines. It had been (had become) impossible to write. The paths did not lead back, not back to the house, not back to the desk. At first the endings disappeared and then the beginnings. I felt no ground beneath my feet, no sand beneath my knees. Now and again there was a cloth for rising up, feathers to kneel down or drawn marks to jump. The place reveals itself ever less to me and ever clearer I become. Ever clearer at this place.
Here, the question arises about what is rather than what is shown. The scene, the events are defined by the omission, the ephemeral. Entire passages, shreds of fur, cracked chairs are unfinished and unembodied. And that is what draws me to them, right into them. I am drawn into this space, into this blank space. It is no void. I am drawn into these gaps and fractions. Whirls of the omitted, of the left out, of the outcast.

do you remember Cavalli and how she wrote: The Body was sheet, outspread. 1 How many times have we argued about this line. To you it was only an image of the morning-after. To me its shape mattered and how the things below define the things above and vice versa.
But here in this place direction and time vanish. Time becomes a loop of thread and comes to a standstill. It is extended infinitely, submerged and dressed in a bunch of peacock feathers, robed.
Within this perpetual winding, weaving, knotting and braiding in temporal standstill, the inside and outside has abandoned its meaning. Everything is visible, translucent, clear. Nothing is left in secrecy, or in homeliness. The abandoned becomes apparent. Wonderful, that you cannot describe it, but only see it.

I am blind. If to be seen is always preceded by seeing or perceiving, then I am blind. I am without vision. For days, I have drifted past glances. I move through lines of sight, that are not meant for me (cannot be). Distant glances, glances remote in time. And yet I feel welcome, truly welcome. The eyes are directed to the inside of things. Very close and far away.
In one of his writings our friend Peter H. let Wilhelm say Suddenly, I come to realize what I have always missed before. Now I do not only see it but I get a feeling for it. That is what I mean by the erotic glance. What I see is not merely an object of observation but a very intimate part of myself. 2 Later on, Peter H. commented on these lines One thing then becomes everything. 3
And I feel within things, animals, furs, furrows, fabrics and lines. I am part of the pen’s movement across the sheet of paper. I am in between pearlescent layers, between lines. I am part of all this and hence not blind, although afar.

I would like to throw a lasso, across the water and without a loop. Not to catch you. We could draw a line between the worlds, through worlds in between, from you to me. From there to the here and now. You would glide across the line and we would jump in the ropes, would lose ourselves in the clouds of thread and become tangled in the bulge of an ornament. Let us play, weave, give meaning to the images. With the movement of the hand and the paper’s reality beneath the pen. The pencil. Come.

the days are numbered. I have walked along the lines, all of them. Every line has left an imprint by seeing it, through walking along it and across the areas on paper. I have become a runner, a runner of worlds and spaces, here and now I have become one who runs, stands, sits, carries with arms and within the heart.
I can now say that I am within this place. Here and now. Or I can say I am aware and I am part of the image, standing, fishing, knotting. Clothes, thoughts, lines that surround and make us visible. Line by line, drawn and unrepeatable. I travelled to this place in order to experience, to encounter. I set forth on a journey. Now the day has come on which I will resign. Resign from the here and now.
I will not go home. To me a return has become impossible. Herein, the days have altered my vision and my eyes now guide me differently. Guide my steps differently. The world is new to me, it freshly faces me. Without walls. Visible.

1 Patrizia Cavalli: Diese schönen Tage. Ausgewählte Gedichte 1974–2006, Munich, 2009, p. 55.
2 Peter Handke: Falsche Bewegung, Frankfurt a. M., 1975, p. 58.
3 Brita Steinwendtner: Gespräch mit Peter Handke, 1982, unpublished typescript from Gerhard Melzer: Lebendigkeit: ein Blick genügt. Zur Phänomologie des Schauens, 
 in G. Melzer / Jale Tükel: Peter Handke, Die Arbeit am Glück, Frankfurt a. M., 1985, p. 132.

in: FrauenZimmer, Zeichnungen von Nikola Röthemeyer, Snoeck Verlag, Köln 2012