notional + notational

We are all patchwork, and so shapeless and diverse in composition that each piece, each moment, plays its own game. And so there is as much difference between us and ourselves as between us and others.

/ Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Essays, 1580.

To be means to be for another, and through the other, for oneself. A person has no internal sovereign territory, wholly and always on the boundary: looking inside, looks into the eyes of another, or with the eyes of another. I cannot become myself without another; I must find myself in another, by finding another in myself (in mutual reflection and mutual acceptance).

/ Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics, 1963.

Selves and places proliferate, iterate, reiterate, various and variant; blurred but unblending but unseparate. Within and without are continuous, a limitlessness of surface and space. Writing is a circumscribed circumnavigation for what lingers and remains, persists, prevails, for precision and permanence, however attenuated. Not being held by the gaze of the eye, or to the use of the “‘I’”, the non-coincident selves move unfettered, between the letters and the lines on the page.

The author’s streamings of conscious experience are half-formed and interrupted; awkward, jagged, and awry in the shadow and the echo, the diffuse particles and the undulating waves, of a stilted attempt at a personal, tensile cadence. Her attempts at lived experience — getting out of the head, getting out of the house [neither being predicated on the other] — though not as anfractuous, are equally fractural. In an alternate universe, healthier [but not necessarily happier], she is an architect aligning angles and planes, heft and fold, binding postmodernist minimalism to cultural depth and detail. Here, however, as aspiring blogger, and fog and fatigue blocked writer, her interests include the abstract alchemy of analogy and metaphor, and the theoretical [meta]metaphysics of concepts, constructs, and representation.

The displacement and the desaturation of moments, momenta, memories, in an unmoored and siblingless existence, meant that she was always seeking solid ground, terra firma, however nova or incognita. A sense of place that was ultimately realized in a complexity of syntax and semantics, in assiduously annotated structures solid enough to provide shelter, spaces to inhabit, through the constant layering and sculpting of surfaces. A language [and an idiosyncratic compulsion for it] of plural singularities and singular pluralities [where nothing is single, or simple] documenting an existence more vicarious than visceral. An existence that drifted and swerved, in and out of focus and kilter, commuting between continents, countries, cultures. Submerged, and suspended, in the written word, emerging only for the absolute necessities, and occasional civilities.

And on that note, Swagatham and Salaam [as a Malayali and a Muslim, from the Malabar Coast of Kerala].

a note on the style format

All quotations are in Libre Baskerville Regular, all titles are in Libre Baskerville Regular Italic. All foreign words are rendered with tighter tracking, comme ça.

Double quotation marks refer to the word enclosed disassociated from the sense of it, or indicate that the word is used in a nonstandard sense; single quotation marks refer to the sense of, the concept[s] associated with, the word enclosed.

1 thought on “disassembly”

  1. absolutely fascinating. Masha’Allah! Seeing others, is see the disclosure of yourself within them…it is understanding the singular self through, in this case, a duality of perception. Identity, does not expose, it is exposed – but the stripping away of anything that makes us opaque to others. Language is intellectual exfoliation to achieve a spiritual end.


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