the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

Posted by rigorousm on March 10, 2015

Edges involve extremes. Edges are borders. Edges are very much about identity, about who you are. Crossing a border is not a simple thing. Geopolitically, getting anywhere round the world in which we live now requires a constant producing of proof of identity. Who are you? You can’t cross till we’re sure. When we know, then we’ll decide whether you can or not.

Edge is the difference between one thing and another. It’s the brink. It suggests keenness and it suggests sharpness. It can wound. It can cut. It’s the blade–but it’s the blunt part of the knife too.

It’s the place where two sides of a solid thing come together. It means bitterness and it means irritability, edginess, and it means having the edge, having the advantage. It’s something we can go right over. It’s something we have on someone or something when we’re doing better than him or her or it. It’s something we can set teeth on. And if we take the edge off something, we’re making something more pleasant–but we’re also diminishing it.

There’s always an edge, in any dialogue, in any exchange. There’s even an edge in monologue, between the speaker and the silent listener. In fact there’s an edge in every meeting, between every thing about to come together with something beyond it.

Edges are magic,too: there’s a kind of forbidden magic on the borders of things, always a ceremony of crossing over, even if we ignore it or are unaware of it.

Ali Smith, “On edge,” Artiful 131-132.

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