June 29



Dear Josephine,

Someone, somewhere is holding their tongue.

We just don't have scandals in this country; not like the ones in the United States or Britain. No Monica's or Paula's or even Christine's, who like so many women are perceived, as you suggest, as weak links, leaks. Women whose bodies (which slide between sheets or are concealed under desks) betray and breech national security, signifying the weakness of their thoughts. They weren't the ones who kept the secrets or spillages of men. No, not those girls with their inherent inability to hold it in. Some women just don't know the difference between public and private! Their bodies were not only exposed, but revealed. And they revealed too much.

From memory, I recall a black and white World War II photograph: a young woman with a shaved head, stripped to her petticoat, jeered by a huge crowd of people who follow and jostle her down the street. Is this the fate of women who collaborate? Ostracised, exposed and humiliated. How does she differ from Paula or Monica? In war time, it is a matter of survival of money, of food, of shelter, of sex more so than a matter of subordination and loyalty to normative ideologies, nation states and their dividing lines. In war time, women who collaborate have betrayed the separation of ally and enemy and slipped between those categories: they have `transgressed' and they have `sympathised'. They have ventured into territories where they weren't meant to go.

The difference: some reveal themselves and others are caught. The similarity: women always perpetrate the breech. The secrets game, tied as it is to 'truth games', is indeed complex. In the face of such siege how do women manoeuvre? Furtive or fugitive, you ask. I wonder. Furtive is secretive and sly, like a tongue or a shiver. Fugitive, evasive, like these writings, transitory and ephemeral. Neither can afford to be caught in this web (or war) of words, of intrigue and deceit, of power corrupted. Now there's a dare: a defiant challenge issued by a transgressor who slips along that line between her split loyalties. A spy or a bug? <a web crawler>

Did you ever play that game was it a skipping game the one where we, as little girls, chanted the words <however, I think my memory has faltered> ...

I wrote a letter to my love
on the way I dropped it
someone must have picked it up
and put it in their pocket ...

Accidents happen. Secrets are revealed. Losses and spills. Presently, I am lost in my wonderings*wanderings, trying to find the key, to press my fingertip against it so as to enter this thing called `collaborative logic'.

<Do you remember Stormin' Norman declaring, 'we couldn't have done it without computers'?>

I've been reading 'On Flirtation' by Adam Phillips, who has written about accidents and contingency. He refutes Freud's assertion that there are no accidents and that the 'voices of chance' do provide opportunities; they heckle and whisper sweet nothings. He suggests that contingency operates as the recognition of one's life turning on a series of accidents in time, of events beyond one's power. <Why just time? I wonder. What of the accidents in space?> He simply suggests that, contrary to Freud, accidents just happen and are not always driven by subconscious or desiring intent or associated with trauma.

Oddly, this appeals to me as a way of describing collaboration: as a series of accidental encounters, opportunities and words. Although, this leaves much more to chance than perhaps is useful because there is also purpose and computer mediation in our collaborative efforts. However, it appeals to me because the idea of 'logic' loses its efficacy. Hit and miss. Meeting*Mismeeting. Subsequently, we can address collaborative events as something other than logical in which those accidental occurrences, of which I am so fond, are constitutive. Can accidents become technologies or techniques (in the sense that Michel Foucault writes about 'technologies of the self')? Is that possible? Or have I drifted into the realm of the impossible, that `senseless sense' that Georges Bataille writes about?

If I say this, then I have to concede that the `logic' is something that we have made, in an arbitrary or nomadic way, through dialogue, as we cross the points and traverse the pathways. We may not be able to retrace our steps or points and others may not be able to follow. I am left wondering about the types of connections and subversions we can make (or get away with) through our wanderings. A wandering which is aimless, but not pointless.

I am left wondering about not only what it `means' for women to collaborate or subvert or betray or simply to speak*write, but what it means for*to me? What seems to occur through the [collab]orator's contingency is `corroboration'. Such [corrob]oration does not occur as homology nor as transparency nor as mimetic, but as the opacities of alterity and situated knowledge. I have just realised that the word `orator' is embedded in both the words, collaborator and corroborator, as if we might be speaking from establishing a position within something else in which there is express concern for the words of and bodies of women, as discursive and differentiated economies and sites ... Chora? (as Gregory Ulmer suggests) a relationship between a place and state of mind, giving rise to a thought.

The path ahead isn't clear. How brave, how trusting of me (or you) to say, `well, I'll take you at your word.'

`A path is always between two points, but in-between has taken on all the consistency and enjoys both an autonomy and a direction of its own.'
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, 'A Thousand Plateaus'

It's word for word rather than face to face. Catch me if you can!! Just press search ...

love,


Linda