“Things aren’t all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are works of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life”
- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a young poet
Life isn’t as straightforward and knowable as we would like it to be. Perhaps that’s why binaries are so convenient. In clearly labelling something as one way or the other we fail to see the cracks, between concepts – the nuances that hold our humanity.
On this site I try to write (and gather writings) about inexact things in an exact way. To catch a glimpse into that unknowable place in hope of some knowledge making its way through into the space where words exist. Where we can organise, touch and feel what the world around us. Or, at least, discover what blinds us from really experiencing the world around us.
“We who live by writing and publishing want—and should demand—our fair share of the proceeds. But the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.”
“Freedom is a multifaceted construct which extends beyond political ideology.”
Steve Hughes, Live at the apollo
“Fear will make you reveal who you really are”
In making our blindnesses known, perhaps we can work to seeing into the spaces that once represented darkness to us. Darkness, an apt metaphor for the spaces we can’t see into.
It impossible to think about darkness without thinking about fear.
Think about that feeling you get when walking down a dark street. Or the temporary panic sets in as soon as Kenya Power checks out at night. The paralysis of this fear does not come from knowledge of absolute harm but in the ambiguousness of it. The idea that harm could come at any moment creates a kind of fear that is a hyper-alertness. The absence of familiarity leaves us exposed to what we don’t know.
It is this exposure that creates fear.
“And at the end of the day,
We celebrate your protection.”
- Raya Wambui, At the End of the Day
But, to stay within the metaphor, where did the light go? In which ways are we left exposed? And whose job is it to cover those bases? Or, rather, in whom had we placed our trust to keep our vulnerabilities hidden?
“Now that I have your dreams, what would you I do with them?”
And how does being a shield against the things we are afraid of change them? To constantly face the things we turn away from?
Were these vulnerabilities ever theirs to hold?
“Perhaps now it becomes clearer that when we speak of “reclaiming our power” we are not necessarily talking about moving in opposition to something, rather than moving towards actualisation of our own will. And in order to know what our own will is we must start by trying to see the world we are trying to create – what it looks like, who can live there and how to get there. It might seem like the same thing, but is very different from simply identifying the things we do not want in the world.”
By holding sight of the worlds we are trying to create, we begin to see where we need to go, and which paths are not fully explored – where we must find the darkness, and grapple with our fear to make it to the other side. In living in those worlds, the difference in landscapes between where we would like to be and where we are becomes apparent.
And as we see this we begin to see places where we exposed ourselves – running into our own fear and looking to those who have kept us safe to keep the pace.
“You will begin to forgive when you understand the many ways in which the world has killed those who try to survive it. When you see how the scars have drawn themselves like maps on their bodies.”
And then, maybe, we will begin to see past the sayable.