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'How to feel your way in' (2021)

(Worlds are already so compositionally full that the question is not how to choose what to stay with but) how to feel your way in? (Lauren Berlant and Kathleen Stewart, The Hundreds, 2019, p. 58) 

We ‘feel [our] way in’ to the meeting after rushing around, or a meeting with colleagues, students, our pets. We ‘feel our way in’ after being in the studio or at our desks working on something intensively. Some of us ‘feel [our] way in’, testing our voices, waking them up after not speaking audibly for a while pinging between internet browser, word doc, pdf.   

We ‘feel [our] way in’ as everyone arrives and we chat about our days, what’s going on, maybe the weather. We ‘feel [our] way in’ as people get enthusiastic about that journal article, that channel 4 drama, that book, that new album which we were moved by, grabbed by, affected.  

We ‘feel [our] way in’ as someone steps forwards, to read the 100 (ish) words chosen. We ‘‘feel [our] way in’ by following the sentences as they are spoken aloud, or closing our eyes, softening our gaze as we listen to the cadence, the intonation of the reader. We ‘feel [our] way in’ during a comfortable pause, where cogs are turning just before the energy picks up. We ‘feel [our] way in’ as someone makes the first move, to unmute, to mention what struck them, what interested them. We ‘feel [our] way in’ now the conversation is flowing, now the writing has opened up.  (Laura) 

Slowly and fast. With care and with abandon. With a sense of magic and brutally. With belly first and then head and with head and then heart. With narratives already preformed and expectant and with ‘every moment a new composition’ (Thrift). With felt structures and structured feelings. With hope and hurt. With a throwing ourselves in and a standing back. With the difficulty of not dragging the overly-represented world into our worldings. (Helen) 

Feeling your way in: it seems thicker than thinking, closer than analysing, more intimate than reflecting. Rather than the words forming separately in your head and being committed to paper, the two processes are one. An embodied practice in many senses, reflecting on the physicality of thought and the spirituality of writing. I am in. (Stuart) 

‘Feeling your way in’ is for me a process that I can only think of responding to as a practice that happens over a period of weeks—reading, writing, reading again, until the world that is being entered into and the means of entering that world are no longer distinguishable entities. (Ben)   

We relate, create & breathe movements that do not stop, we maintain what resonate, non-digested moments and feelings of what is still in process, we feel and fill the world through the interactions. Letters that only in their combination create worlds and sounds, interact with keys or pens. (Victoria) 

Encounters with texts, people, situations, soundscapes often feel so vitally enmeshed that, even while trapped in hot thickets, it seems both impossible and terrible to cut a single path. Feeling a way in is a process of becoming carefully implicated, of finding a rhythm, of learning the joy of meaningful (if errant) motion, and knowing when and where to set down the next precious bread crumb. (Ghada)