The formal and artificial lines of human construction – on the one hand – and the organic shapes of nature. The clear distinctions between water, and soil, and plants, and rocks. Both as a person and as a writer, I find myself increasingly drawn to the boundaries – the spaces between – the margins where one type of thing changes and turns to another. It is not because I reject the categories. That would be postmodernism, which is both stupid and evil. I accept absolutely that distinctions between things exist, and that these distinctions are validated by far more than merely some oppressive power relationships between some monolithic underclass and some nebulous group of exploiteers.
But the margins fascinate me… because the boundaries between things are not as clear as the things themselves.
In science fiction, for example, the standard distinction between ‘planet’ and ‘spaceship’ becomes far more intriguing if a ship becomes an ecosystem. Or an ecosystem is given engines and a steering wheel.
Nothing can be more certain and more clear than the difference between earth and water – but in reality the two states often blend and intermingle, in spaces that are neither solid nor liquid. The categories are ideals, archetypes, phenotypes. The in between is messy, chaotic, dirty, uncertain, and alive.
Distinctions themselves are clear. The lines between them, far less so.