File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0107, message 97

Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 22:01:05 +1000
Subject: Re: Emergency

At 08:44 AM 7/18/01 -0500, Mary Murphy&Salstrand wrote:

>Along these same lines, one of the things that amazes me is the act of
>writing.  I often sit down to write with a sense of obligation, feeling
>I must write even though I don't know in advance what I will say.  When
>I begin to write, I am often surprised by what emerges.  Some idea,
>phrasing or feeling never previously anticipated. The writing becomes a
>process, a passage, a way of discovery.  It is not something planned and
>then simply executed. I myself am executed in the very act of writing,
>held hostage to the event.
>One of the reasons I keep coming back to Lyotard is that, at some level,
>I believe this simple act of writing I have been describing is in a
>certain sense a figure of what Lyotard is trying to articulate in his

Indeed. In my case it was coming across a TV doco on "chaos theory" in
1989. Fireworks went off in my head when I realized the implications - I'd
left behind my Leavisite backround and training in the English Dept back in
the early 70's - now here was the missing link! Breathless with
self-satisfaction for having had this amazing insight I began a lit review,
which (amongst all the science/maths stuff) turned up a philosopher/lit
theorist, someone who spoke my language. That's how I met L. and, far from
being disappointed that someone had made the connection between
poststructuralism and complexity years earlier (PMC) it was a delightful
So yes, these words sing for me 'executed in the very act of writing, held
hostage to the event'. Thought holds us under its martial law (dialogics)
and we Write ourSelves in a state of emergency.


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