Open Space - May: Returning Here After Being There

9 May 2022 

Returning Here After Being There

 

This month five members of University of Edinburgh's Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry present writing in progress/process around themes of writing, loss, absence and presence. The works explore the experience of coming back into contact after a space of absence: returning here after being there. The authors write through themes of loss, restoration, death, love, breakage, recovery, depletion, renewal, and more.

 

Each piece has a short abstract below. We expect the readings to last about an hour in total and there will be time to respond and the end and/or part way through if we feel space is needed.

 

Alex G. Romanitan, The Death of Absence: Writing with you here inside me

'It’s not the same.' My counselling client confesses during our online session. 'You’re there and I’m here.' Writing to inquire on this 'You’re there and I’m here', the paper reveals the curves between absence/intimacy and there/here. My absent father becomes the focus of the writing as his absence in me shifts with his death. He is no longer there/absent. He is here/present. With him so close, my words become labored.

I ‘here’ him, and I can’t write anymore.

A paper on the ease of absence and the struggle of intimacy.

 

J. Karen Serra U., Who was there with you?

He wonders how he will feel when he sees me. Away and absent. Not there. Not in the flesh. There. Here. Projected on a screen. My voice is in the room where he is. My voice is in his ears. Earphones. He can take me places, show me places. I can. Together. I can’t move things around him. I can’t hug him. Are we together? I think with Haraway about my sense of being/not being there with my brother; questioning what makes/constitutes a sense of togetherness.

 

Karen Kaufman, breathing loss

Immediately, I am back      

to seven years ago.

Helping my children make this rain sounding instrument.

A time of wholeness, a time where worries looked different, and I didn’t know what

                                                deep ache and loneliness felt like.

A time before death.       

This writing/spacing is an experience of loss, connection, and community through the rhythms, breaths written with/between the words. This writing hopes to think with creative-relational inquiry providing exposures and invitations of presence and absence, living and dying, with the human and the more-than-human.

 

Fiona Murray, The silent absent: on the exhausted self

The only sound I hear is the sound of my breath, my cat’s miaow.

I am lost inside.

Alone.

But I will sleep as soon as this abstract is written.

Because I am exhausted.

Burnt myself off the page.

 

This paper writes into and from the exhausted self from the understanding that this self is a political subject (Chaudhary, 2019). This paper works with Berlant’s concept of “crisis-shaped subjectivity” in a bid to find some sense of empowerment, from a place of depletion.

 

Jonathan Wyatt, The breaking body: Everyday tales of the lost and found

A paper on how a(n ageing, White, male) body breaks, how it might (or might not) heal, what a body in its everyday movements remembers, knows, conveys, carries, mourns; about what is lost but present. Bringing to the page the everyday poetics and prosaics of the struggling, soaring, body, and the legacies it holds, it will be a paper that looks for creative-relational possibilities for writing the in/corporeal.