The Deflected Subject: ethics, objects and writing
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This discussion explores deflection as a narrative tactic for memoir writing, based on using material objects as sites of subjectivity. As a way of grounding this discussion, I employ the example of my own brief memoir 'Antidote', a fictionalised account of a collector and his collection, which provides the foundation for the story. In 'Antidote' I approach my account obliquely, as a restorative inventory. As I argue, however, it is not only the process of writing and remembering that provides a source of renewal. Rather, the objects themselves offer a mechanism of restoration. While imbued with ambiguity, they are an anchor against the constant slippage between the old world and the new. Roland Barthes has argued that the material details of a story can never denote the real: 'all that they do 堩s to signify it' (1989: 148) In 'Antidote' the assembled objects, the place that holds them and the collector who gathered them all exist. Even so, arguably, it is the selection and provenance of these objects, whether known or unknown, and their framing in language, that bring them into the realm of fabula and give narrative life to their form.
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Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting)