The Body as a Writing Tool


"The Artist is Present," by Marina Abramović, 2010

Marina Abramović & Ulay, “Rest Energy,” 1980

“The Fall” by Pina Bausch, 2011

"Noise Body #8" by Paula Garcia, 2014

Mary Ruefle in The White Review, when asked about not owning a computer:

Mary Ruefle: I write by hand because that is how I began, and I love it. Moving the wrist, the marks the pencil or pen leave on the paper – like the trail of a snail – well, it is like drawing, no, it is drawing, and I am so enamored of this activity that sometimes I write continuously without actually forming real words, I call it ‘fake handwriting’, and it’s just as much fun as actually ‘writing’. By fun I mean it’s just as much a mystery. This whole wrist-moving action is why I write in the first place. I don’t like tennis, or knitting, I like writing with my hands.

The White Review: I’m reminded of the Surrealists and the practice of automatism in drawing and writing. Is any of this ‘fake handwriting’ ever usable, does it make it into your work? Or is it just a reflexive exercise or a form of procrastination? I’m reminded also of ‘If All The World Were Paper’, where the speaker claims that they are ‘only pretending to write’ in much the same way the reader is ‘only pretending to read’, since both are imaginative acts.

Mary Ruefle: None of the fake handwriting ever makes it into a piece of writing, but some of it looks nice framed and hung on the wall. No, it’s not procrastination, nor is it an exercise, it’s an activity.

Mary Ruefle’s “Cryalog”