On the Holding of Spaces for Essaying Into

By , , , and | 31 October 2021


Melody with echo (Andy)
‘How did we end up here?’ a friend said in another telephone conversation recently. And it’s like that.

It’s a putting oneself into a space of deliberate uncertainty. Stepping into the unknown. A practicing in that space. Training. It’s about thinking provisionally. Speaking small. Not for all.

It’s about languaging. Being attentive to words, to meaning. To the meaning that can be smuggled in however unwittingly. It’s about taking seriously (which might have nothing whatsoever to do with being serious).

Recently I have been thinking about this as an ethics. I have been thinking of it as an ethic against violence particularly. Violence in its myriad guises.

I want to know how to write in-and-with this time. In-and-with the specific challenges of environmental degradation, ongoing inequalities, a global pandemic … of paranoias big and small. Of hard borders and lockdowns. McKenzie Wark writes ‘I started to ask about what might constitute theory for the Anthropocene.’ And it boils down to something like that for me too.

I want to say that I think it might be possible to train in uncertainty methodologically via essaying. That to do so might benefit us as we navigate the uncertainty of these times as deftly off the page as on it.

I want to venture that in coming together, in writing – and enacting – collectively we might find the courage and nourishment to continue on doing and being and thinking and feeling and protesting and dreaming and resisting and loving and rebelling and failing and succeeding and faltering and uttering in these times.

*zapping from mosquito light


This essay was made, variously, on unceded Boon Wurrung, Waddawurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, and Wurundjeri Country. We extend our respects to the ancestors and Elders of these lands as well as to the custodians of the land and waters across Australia more broadly.

A version of this piece was performed as part of the non/fictionLab Public Forum Series on Thursday, 26 August 2021. Together, we, the writers and makers of this text, bring practices in and across poetry, essay writing, theatre, sonic and visual arts towards the essayesque.

*revving engine

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