Experimental writing workshop 3 (First Draft)

This week we can either:

1. write about being naked in a truck full of strangers in another, imaginary, world. how will we SHOW the differences, sociologically and anthropologically, by the interactions between us and our fellow prisoners. (Ref, Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness)

2. construct a physical world and write about it.

3. write about love without the use of gender pronouns.

I pick 3.

Please excuse the French in the first draft, as I have put this all down very quickly – any corrections gratefully appreciated (plus my Petit Robert fails me on limerance and liminal!)

frontier love

to love = aimer


we love without borders

in limerance I give myself to you

no holding back, no baggage

our love is perfect

hold this/that moment


je suis

tu es

nous sommes

nous tombons

nous sommes tombé(e)s amoureux


a border divides us, a sea, a language

I don’t know why I think I can love in French when my love in English is imperfect


nous aimons

nous avons aimé(e)s

nous aimons quand …

nous avons aimé(e)s

nous aimons sans frontières

en limerance je me donne à toi

sans retenue, aucune bagage

notre amour est parfait

maintiens ce moment


I am

you are

we are

we fall

we fell in love, we fell loving

une frontière qui nous divise, une mer, une langue

je ne sais pas pourquoi je pense que je peux aimer en français quand mon amour en anglais est imparfait

we love

we loved

we were loving when …

we used to love


under au dessous de La Manche, 250 feet below sea level, ca c’est soixante seize mètres a toi, I pause, je m’arrête, weight of water (l’eau) crushing me m’écrase

as I travel again comme je voyage encore

liminal space/espace liminal

my life divided/ma vie divisée

from yours

no we. oui?

If you say tomber en amour to a French(wo)man, s/he/they/we may start looking for holes.

to see: voir

the sea: la mer

je traverse la mer de te voir

je deviens une mère/un père

tu deviendras un père/une mère

nous serons des parents

unspeakable difference




4 thoughts on “Experimental writing workshop 3 (First Draft)

  1. dear lord, the first option is hard to read let alone write!
    Love that you have written the non-gender poem partly in french, which of course gives away the gender immediately unless you add both m and f.. adding both options gives it a certain clumsiness which i think adds to the unsettledness of the narrative. Even objects are masc. and fem. which makes it hard to write about for example the sea loving the earth without some kind of gender statement. I wonder if french poets are aware of that tension when writing about these ‘things’ ?

    sorry about my muddled thoughts ….

    • Thank you. It seemed very important to do this, to some extent) in a gendered language. I wanted to capture the discomfort of a cross-border relationship – any type of border – and tried to use the ‘French lesson’ metaphor … I’m glad it’s unsettling … I think that might very much be a theme for this term.

      • Excellent excellent. I love unsettling themes they are so good to work with. You will be able to go deep …. The sea is a great border to explore

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