In the past few months, I’ve been working on an essay on close-reading and uncertainty in poetry. In the question of hateful ideologies and their transforming aesthetics, I ask Who can afford to be uncertain? Who will die if we’re wrong? There’s the kind of uncertainty that comes with a magazine submission sent off. There’s another kind that trades in the humanity of some for the superiority of others.
These questions come to mind because while I can’t offer anyone certainty, for today’s ‘Writing, today’s offering is this: what do you in the face of uncertainty? What is it like to be where and who you are, now?
Answer (to be written) below. In addition to the usual 45 minutes, I’ll be responding to you for the next 24 hours.
In times of uncertainty, I like to forget. I like to forget about the submissions, the emails, the decisions that might make or break my next move. I focus on things I can do: I clean, I cook, and I read and write in ways that continue enriching my life without whatever it is that I'm hoping to hear word from.
In these kinds of uncertainty, this tactic is not quite as useful. How can one forget about certain death if not of myself then of people who easily could have been me? More than one friend shared with me last night a description of their bodies: given in to numbness, the psychic retreat that prepares one for harm.
Yet, moving the body continues to work. The freeze we experience, as I wrote on some weeks ago, is a real trauma response. I liken it to sleep paralysis, the terror of having open eyes in a world one can't move in.
So it's become important to move in the world. To remember what freedoms are still possible. To look to possibilities of growth rather than staring at the walls of psychic dead-ends. I can't think my way through this. My body is in the present. I must remember it.