On Desperate Writers

You can be anything you want to be
Just turn yourself into anything you think that you could ever be
Be free with your tempo, be free be free
Surrender your ego – be free, be free to yourself
(Queen, “Innuendo”)

And here I am, writing an English text, and for the first time in my life I do not care about its form, structure, or style. I have no one to submit this blurb to, except for the space that my friend and I have just invented. The story of my relationship with this language was similar to any immigrant’s, whose only goal was to master, to get through, to blend with the new environment. And while I learned to some extent how to write academic papers, I also felt that I have lost something very important and vital – my ability to write freely, to speak up my mind, without any constraints or limitations. This feeling was so powerful that for a while I completely dropped out of any English writing save for some obligatory work-related texts. But now I know that I want to try it again but this time, on my own terms.

Writing with Nastya, working together on one beloved project has always been an oasis for both of us. We felt free from any obligations or the dictatorship of egos, and our friendship, personal and creative, flourished within this space. Being separated by the thousands of miles, we keep on texting, messaging, skyping – thanks to all the technologies, we have never lost touch. And out of those short messages and long chats over skype a new creation came to life, our book that is still a work in progress, however, now it is almost over. For us, the main outcome of these long years has been the utmost liberation from the regulations of scholarly writing and the realization that you do not need to fit in any system in order to conduct your research or write essays.

And the moment has come to step out of our private little world, and to present our writings to the others. We have different yet close interests that inform our writings, both co-authored and autonomous. While Nastya is a connoisseur of baroque opera, I tend to listen to the classic rock; while one of us deals with the cultural history of medicine, another one works in the realm of Lacanian psychoanalysis. But both of us love the Golden age of TV drama (and in particular, British TV series), and we both favour structuralism over other methods of literary criticism. We find that even when ranting about our favourite actor, or musician, or a particular scene in a TV episode, we still resort to the language of literary or cultural analysis, however, without the exclusion of the emotional squees. These texts are all tucked away somewhere, some are lost in the social networks, while others are gathering dust inside our computers. For the most part, we had no idea what could be done with them – they do not belong to the standard review format, and their language is too loose for academic resources. We did not want them to disappear in our personal blogs; we want to give them another life here, in this new space. It only remains to quote one of our most favourite hero – allons-y!

— Katya

[Our English S(h)elves]