October 21, 2019

How can we speak in times like these?

Catherine Street, 41

Begun at the time of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, the main thrust of this writing is to explore the perils of writing and speaking in times of crisis. It suggests the two opposing impulses to, on the one hand bear witness and observe closely, and on the other hand to weigh in with opinions and polemic. It touches on the anguish felt by the writer as she wishes to continue writing and making but does not want to be complicit in a culture that engenders inequality and injustice. It also evokes the reader’s anxiety in not knowing what or who to trust. Different voices and styles suggest a dispersed, all-encompassing subjectivity as the writing slips between first, second and third person, and flickers from stream of consciousness punctuation-less poetry to more prosaic, carefully observed descriptions. At the end of the text it is the visceral, desiring body that emerges as the one thing that we can believe in. This is important as it suggests a way out of endless argument through focusing on the body; the one thing that we all share as human beings and upon which our fallibility and shared humanity is inscribed.

Your Mind, 2019Writing