This past week I was fortunate enough to participate in An Inquiry into Modes of Existence's final Diplomatic Writing Workshop.
I don't think that I'm yet able to articulate my reflections on the past week intelligently (and not just because of the overpriced Parisian alcohol that's still in my system). After the five days of debating and writing (and rewriting and rewriting and re-debating and arguing!) I feel mentally, physically, emotionally and existentially exhausted—in a good way, but still...
As the only non-francophone in attendance there was a formidable language barrier. I was greatly aided by the kindness of my co-writers who spoke English when they could. I'm especially grateful to Cormac O'Keeffe and Stephen Muecke for their brilliant on-the-fly translations and interpretations, not to mention their moral support.
Apparently the best way to learn a language is to be dropped in at the deep end. This end was deep more ways than one!
As an experiment in collective thought it was a strange and intense experience. An undoubtable success, albeit with many problems, flaws and internal failures of diplomacy. Peace was not achieved but this was never the expectation.
Next week, on Monday and Tuesday, AIME goes public with the final ceremonial assembly before the appointed charges d'affaires. Perhaps the most difficult thing with this experiment has been the fact that seemingly everyone taking part had a slightly different interpretation of what the protocols were and what was to be achieved. To over-(or badly-)philosophise the point, this past week has been thoroughly pre-individual. I look forward to Monday to find out what we've been doing all this time!