On the Holding of Spaces for Essaying Into

By , , , and | 31 October 2021


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.

*seashell distorted through a plastic bag


Tina as Melody
‘The whole world is searching for hard borders, like yours’ quips my friend on the
phone from Berlin. ‘So, we can keep out the virus and all other undesirables while we’re at
it,’ she said.

Andy as Melody
‘Right!’ I reply. But I am nevertheless caught off guard by how simply she puts it and how
I’ve missed this analysis. Mine and perhaps the local political left more broadly seem to have
a blindspot on the hard border this time.

Tina as Melody
We’ve been so busy counteracting the narratives of the QAnon-ers, the anti-vaxxers, and the
‘freedom’ marchers, that we’ve forgotten to be present to the dark sides of Australia’s fetish
for border control.

Andy as Melody
The ideology of protection got us this time. Got me. The desire for safety, so visceral.

Tina as Melody
Texting my friend about this later: ‘I mean maybe we [the ‘we’ here being the
political left] do have a fear of being infected by the other. We just think we don’t.’

Andy as Melody
The ‘we’ being me.

Tina as Melody
All those years of thinking I wasn’t afraid of the other. Yeah right! The hubris of thinking one
is exempt from this stuff. I mean I have had other glimpses of the thing-I-thought-I-was-
exempt-from. As when crossing the street to avoid someone begging for money, or the
laughing along with a certain style of sexist teasing among people I don’t know very well, or
at all (like at the dentist this week, he teasing my daughter in the most gendered of ways and
me saying ‘he’s just teasing darling’).

Andy as Melody
Don’t take it so seriously being the message. Don’t overreact! For goodness sake, don’t cry!

*ATM declined

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