The two pieces below are reproduced with permission from the closing stages of Hyperlove by Naomi Morris (Makina Books, September 2021). Hyperlove burns with frustration and fervour as Morris explores heteronormative ideals, romantic happily-ever-afters and the historical oppression of women and their right to agency and expression. Yet Hyperlove isn’t constrained to a sense of personal storytelling. In this incisive lyric essay, the creative mixes with the critical, as Morris looks to the mystics, to pop culture, to writing itself, dislocating categories of love and forming a radical and original exploration of desire as a woman.
Do you ever experience a cave-like sadness for an experience that isn’t your own?
How can someone feel so strongly for a fiction? For stories they have been told again and again but are just that — stories.
A crush doesn’t feel good anymore, it feels like a violence.
The shame of the pit-blackness of the emotion.
In the pitness: a child. A child who is very lonely. A child who is keenly aware of what she lacks.
And then the pitness makes itself known on Saturday evenings, the sky in the window for company.
And the pitness feels more acute when the sky is clear and when the sunset is pin pricked by clouds of unfamiliar softness.
And the pitness cries out especially when it is hot and sunny, keen for shade.
The pitness feels affronted by an external tragedy, it’s gauze whisked aside by the materiality of lives lost. Young life lost.
A person who was a baby even to the pitness.
The interfaces of popular dating sites were purposely made to be ‘the clean, well-lighted place’. An appeal to women. An appeal — I think — to the pitness.
Crushes as a precipice over which you are wanting to fall, despite yourself.
An actor and a musician leave we-want-to-fuck evidence all over Instagram then meet in Ireland at the tail-end of a pandemic, probably in order to fuck.
I am meeting my husband at the tail-end of a pandemic. At a perceived lull. People who fell in love during lockdown (romantic), people who broke up during lockdown (tragic), people who got conned during lockdown and out of that cut/deep crack arose a precipitous melody that sounded like chaos but was actually anxious attachment.
And also, people die. People still die.
Everything I write is fractious and in some way perverse because that is the time it was chosen for me to live in. I am a good writer. I am a good writer but am surrounded by people who get paid per word, paid for an Instagram caption, paid to write a Vogue piece about discovering old designer clothes (one of Boris Johnson’s fractious children. Fractious as in, they are all over the place and there is a new one, born amid a pandemic. Feel sorry for the mother, they said, she is alone and frightened. I know of many mothers who are alone and frightened and where is their sympathy? Where are the material provisions that would ensure they have a quality of life that is at least sufficient, even if they will never try on their old designer clothes?)
I spend my time in a virtual world where there is no sex. I forget what it is to kiss for the first time (it is only 4 months, it feels like forever). I forget so much what it is to touch someone that I worry it’ll feel wrong to do it. I can live without it, and that’s terrifying. I spend my time imagining what it would be like to be a mystic. To give up so much and gain it all. I want to wear a hazelnut around my neck. It is all that is made.
How can I write in a way that fits into a category pre-made (as in there when I was born)? Everything I write is fractious and in some way perverse because, when people write into a conformed structure, I feel queasy. I don’t know what FRONTAGE we are trying to preserve. Doesn’t a new way of the world mean a new way of writing? Can we not have a break from New York ——- op-eds from white people?
MORAL REDEMPTION 2021
I understand the need to submit to a consummation, a way of not feeling every rivet of discomforting emotion, a hyperlove.
Hyperlove smooths it all out and together by utilising a single outlet (whether one person or many, the chase produces a similar somatic reaction).
Hyperlove gives existentialism an easy vessel. Creased, visceral, a target that is both you and the other person (people) the same.
Hyperlove removes distinctions, fears the
unbridgeable gap between self and others and so erases it entirely. Hyperlove subsumes to avoid responsibility.
Hyperlove is an understandable reaction to the world as is.
Braver still to submit to feeling everything without another person to hold (or be!) the entrails. My love sees the entrails with me.
My love is him but also friends, comrades, near strangers whether through art or internet and me again through all these people and pets and trees and commutes and memories and paper and dinner and lifting and pauses and crying and writing and words.
My love is not hyper. It is strained and patient and impatient and silent and miraculous and joyous and forever and mortal and the world as it is but also striving towards the world as it could be (forever).
She writes this. She Googles a hot, talented couple.
The above two pieces are reproduced with permission from the collection Hyperlove by Naomi Morris (Makina Books, September 2021). Buy the collection directly from the publisher here.
Naomi Morris is a writer of mostly non-fiction and poetry originally from Birmingham. Her work has been published in The New Statesman, Polyester, Ache and Rookie. Naomi’s first pamphlet of poems, Earth Sign, won the 2018 Hollingworth Prize and was published by Partus and Sine Wave Peak in 2019.
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