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"The Wrecking Ground, pt. 15" by Lee Huttner

"The Wrecking Ground" is an essay told in parts by Lee Huttner. We will be publishing a new part each week on our blog. Stay tuned!


Water splits a person in two: the desiring body that wishes to join with the water, and the

repelling body that refuses it. Both libidinal and abject.

In his 1861 book The Sea, renowned French historian Jules Michelet writes: “For all terrestrial

animals, water is the non-respirable element, the ever heaving but inevitably asphyxiating

enemy; the fatal and eternal barrier between the two worlds.”

Water’s heaving is felt throughout the body, its rhythmic push and pull, thrust and release, over

which the body has no control. Yet it will never sustain human life. We do not belong there. It

lets us know that, always.

The barrier between two worlds: in its depths, the craving one feels to breathe is at once the

body’s desperation to remain alive and, should we refuse to give in, precisely that which will

drive the body to drown. Either way, we cannot stay. We are alone. The shore is miles away. We clutch at the falling debris, unsalvageable.

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