Hold On Tight

I write elliptically, in the space between ellipses, sometimes. I don’t lay everything out, even here; I don’t explain it all or put the pieces in the right order at the right time.

At some times, that’s an intentional decision for any number of reasons, ranging from wanting to make things more inviting (or enjoyably frustrating) for the reader to make them read on — if I just told you everything, you’d get bored, surely — to, quite simply, not feeling comfortable sharing everything and wanting to keep some things to myself despite this whole space. In work mode, sometimes it’s also a function if not being able to say everything, because sources won’t share on the record, or there are things that aren’t my stories to share just yet.

But then, there are times when I write around things because that’s all I can do, when I don’t really know what it is I’m trying to say when I set out in the first place. I might have a vague idea, an imagined destination that may or may not be real, but I write in circles, I use words like echolocation to find my path when I don’t actually have a map. I’ll find my way somehow, I hope, as I get started.

When I was a student, I discovered the term “emergent research,” and remember to this day the definition I was given at the time: it was, I was told, what happens when you only really find out what you’re looking for when you’re already looking for it. In other words, you start out without a plan, and then the revelation comes midway through: Oh, it was this all along!

I’m unsure if that’s what “emergent research” actually means, or if it’s a recognized term in academia at all, I’ll admit. I could look into it, but that feels like it’d be risking bursting a bubble, or bringing some magic to an end by looking behind the curtain. Let’s enjoy that definition and idea of reality, even if it’s not true.

More often than not, I write as my version of emergent research, at least in the meaning I was taught. It’s the way I think, and the way I feel most comfortable doing it, I think. Sometimes, I just start a post with the words “I write elliptically,” not knowing what’s next, and enjoy the ride.

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