80. Subject as number – towards a pre-presumptive unwriting

So , now there are three characters who might write, with which to write or whom to write about. There is ‘You’ Yov’ and ‘I’. This means that the person actually writing is none of these characters. It also means falling into the presumption that writing involves ‘characters’, i.e. subjects that do this, then that, look like, feel or act like this and that etc.

Falling into presumption may of course be the antithesis of what this Blog is about, and yet, unless presumptions are fallen into they cannot be explored and rejected and replaced with some alternative.

As far as characters go the person who is actually writing this Blog is going out of their way to remain slightly removed from the action, slightly off-the page and out of the way. this is of course the avoidance of another presumption and the reason why ‘You’ replaced ‘I’ in the very first post.

Another character who might be considered here could be someone with no grammatical moniker (no ‘I’ no ‘Yov’ no ‘You’) at all, but someone who is merely a number. After all in highly technologised capitalism people are treated more and more statistically, quantitatively, and their activities (like this one) increasingly immersed in numerically based data.

A name, a grammatical position. a subject or subjectivity may themselves be romantic and literary compared with the real way in which human beings live and are viewed today by technologised capitalism. So, why not write as, for or with ‘067086910’ rather than as ‘Claire’ or ‘I’ or ‘Yov’ or ‘We’ or ‘You’?

There is of course the traditional ‘One’, a rather Etonian sounding and British/posh subject position in grammar, and that ‘One’ does indeed blur a numerical identity with a more rounded human subject position. ‘One’ is anonymous / objective / universal, and yet it always retains its British/posh tones, thereby injecting it with inescapable identity, personality, class, nationality etc.

This may bring into focus the point or purpose of the exercise i.e. to evolve a way and a means of writing that is not presumptuous, that is post-presumptuous or perhaps that should be pre-presumptuous as, in some way this writing seems to keep hesitating, working backwards rather than forwards, not progressing and achieving but dawdling and resisting, questioning before presuming.  It may well be a form of unwriting. Unwriting presumptions.

If an appropriate figure could be located, chosen and worked with (it could be ‘Yov’, it could be ‘You’, it could be ‘I’, it could be ‘067086910’) there would then be the problem and presumption of ‘events’ and thus of narrative to deal with. Could the writing be a writing if it denies itself these presumptions?

Finally (N.B. there are only up to 450 words so far today but shorter, more focused thinking seems to be the way the Blog is going for the present), if an appropriate subject and appropriate events and narrative can be located or crafted that form some kind of un-presumptuous alternative vehicle for this hesitant ‘un-writing’, then there is someone or something else that must be attended to, chosen, crafted, imagined and perhaps named as well. That is ‘the reader’ (thanks to student/Blog reader Rupert for bringing  this into play).

‘You’ was of course a grammatical subject or vehicle that blurred self and other, writer and reader quite successfully and sustained the Blog for nearly a year before this more questioning and self-reflexive phase kicked in.

But it was good this week to be reminded, in a discussion with students, that, while we might feel free to invent, craft or perform the subject writing, we might nevertheless make passive presumptions about the reader. In fact, just as the writer can and could be anything, it might enable the writing further, or make it freer (if that is the goal) to also set aside any presumptions regarding who or what the reader is.

‘The reader’ might be state surveillance? It might be an examination marker? It might be a parental figure, am authority or guardian? It might be History, someone in the far-flung future? It might be someone struggling to read English (another presumption that has not yet been investigated). It may be inhuman, fantastic, imaginary, gendered, genderless, ancient, benign, evil etc.

701 words clock up at the bottom right hand corner of the WordPress page. The set wordcount is approaching after all. This is a good place to end, with these hesitations, these pre-presumptions, this unwriting that returns writing, once again to the value of white space for another seven days (ah! and there may lie the ‘narrative, the event!)




2 thoughts on “80. Subject as number – towards a pre-presumptive unwriting

  1. Am sitting in a far corner of the world-at least from London, a beautiful Saturday morning. A gentle breeze and a cul of coffee. I cannot think of a better place to read the blog. I am thinking about the connotatios of “one” in english, so different than in spanish, at least here, where I am sitting, where it has the effect of “separating” . It does not have the associations and therefore when i want to translate there is no choice but the “you”. Thank you


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