July 19, 2022

Le Fou: On Touching, in four acts

Jessica Widner

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Experimental WritingLe Fou: On Touching, in four acts, 2022

“Le Fou: On Touching, in four acts” is a short piece of experimental writing that explores different kinds of touch – the physical, the metaphorical, the remembered, the ancestral, the longed-for. This piece presents existence as part of a network of different kinds of touches, suggesting that these touches do not only shape our personal experiences but also our larger, structural, experience of identity. While this piece details the speaker’s personal experience of intimate, personal touches, it also opens into larger questions about violence and appropriation, and the implications of touches that echo across generations. This piece asks the reader to consider their own role amongst this history of touch. What kind of touch has brought us here today? How can we begin to undo or heal legacies of touches that have harmed, of histories of violence? Our flesh, I suggest, is a medium that allows us to contain and negotiate desire and difference. It is where we “meet” the other, and the others in the self. This piece challenges the reader to consider the complexity, and the moral ambiguity of touching, and of a history of touch, and the way touch shapes every facet of our experience.