The disappearance of a relevant quote

Liverpool Fugue, the performance lecture that I gave as part of my residency at The Royal Standard, was inspired by my reading of The Rings of Saturn, by W.G Sebald.
  I've been thinking about a film I want to make, about the train journey from my home town of Colchester, to London Liverpool Street station. This would be an exploration of a landscape that has shaped me. Me and a friend would spend a month riding the slow train back and forth, stopping at each station to walk, film and take notes.

Marks Tey
Hatfield Peverel
London Liverpool Street

They are places that I know intimately, in the sense that I have traveled through them hundreds of times, and I know exactly how long it takes to get to each one, and I have spent time in every one of them, either waiting for a connecting train, or a rail replacement bus. They are also places that are totally alien to me. Places that I have never purposefully visited, places I have never walked around. They are markers towards a confused idea of 'home', rather than places in and of themselves.

I will again use Sebald as a reference point for this project. I want to explore the reality of walking around these towns and villages, but by creating oneiric histories for each of them - mixing fact and fiction to create narratives that link them together and allow them to become players in a coherent, if somewhat discursive, thread of ideas and inferences.
  The irony is that the specific passage in The Rings of Saturn that has inspired the idea is one of the few entirely factual parts of the book. In it, Sebald describes his train journey from Norwich to London Liverpool Street (the route stops at Colchester and the other stations listed above), gazing out of the window and watching the landscape shift from rural, to light industrial, to suburban sprawl, to city.

I will write a proposal for some funding for this piece - I need some money to cover costs and the time it will take me to produce - and I thought I could begin the proposal by directly quoting the passage from the book. Strangely, I can't find it. I thought I had already quoted the passage for the blog I wrote whilst on The Royal Standard residency, but I can't seem to locate it online. I quickly scanned the chapter in which I thought it appeared, and then re-read it closely. Finally, I went through the whole book, page by page, looking for any reference the Norwich-London train route.

Have I just missed the quotation, or did I imagine the whole thing? I was reading several books at the time, perhaps it was from somewhere else. But I remember Sebald's distinctive narrative voice; at once authoritative and distracted, dreamlike and concrete.
  Maybe when I thought of my film idea, I shot a glance back through my memories to see if I could link it up with anything that I had been doing, to find a causal connection between my reading and my practice. Perhaps on finding nothing, I created a passage that Sebald could have written, in order to link my ideas with his.


As I was flicking through the book, looking for the non-existent passage, I realised that the story he tells in the last section, concerning national silk production in France, is obliquely referenced throughout the earlier chapters. Silk worms are used as metaphors, or written about in passing, as well as being explicitly referenced in shorter narratives concerning historical figures. This idea of the silk worm producing a thread seems to me to be an internal metaphor, or a synecdoche, for Sebald's writing. He produces imperceptible narrative threads that link together ideas that are almost unbelievable - that these ideas are untrue is made irrelevant by the lightness of his connections and the understated nature of his writing.
  Silk worms can only be bred domestically, they do not exist in the wild. They are, in a very real sense, a human construct. Not just dependent on humans for their continued existence, but also rendered functionless without human desire for silk. The thread they spin is for us, they are not objects beyond our perception, like other animals. They fail to exist without us. They, like us, are meaningful because of the thread they leave behind them. Our thread is that of memory, or history - but like the silk worm, we do not know why we produce this thread, and so, in our ignorance, we must apply our own meaning to it.

As a postscript, I did try to search online for the passage concerning the train journey, I couldn't find it, but I did find a nice Susan Sontag essay on Sebald. Read it here.