The Harried Student:

In response to the challenge of writing about nothing

Recently, in one of the Voice’s columns, a fellow writer, comrade, and sibling in schooling laid at the feet of the Voice’s readership a challenge. The challenge is to demonstrate writing about nothing”?writing having no point, no subject, no opinion. Intrepid around-the-blocker who’s been there, done it, and uses the T-shirts for dishrags, I am urged to, using my eclectic AU education, despatch this test.

I am up to the task. I learned much about purposeless, unfocused writing about nothing in Political Science 309. So, not that I care or want to, but because I tossed a coin and it came up with Ralph Klein’s head on it, I will define nothing. Nothing is the complete absence of thing. For instance, in terms of viable justifications for privatizing health care, the Alberta government offers abundant examples of nothing.

Enough politics. On to Philosophy. The challenge is to write about nothing, and have no point. That is easy enough, because I have taken Philosophy 252. I have studied the formidable art of equivocation. I can prove that any writing about nothing is, necessarily, clearly unfocussed. That is, being everywhere absent, nothing is not here. Neither is it there. Neither here nor there is quite beside the point. My discourse on nothing, therefore, cannot possibly stick to a point. Staggering, no?

You may now object that writing about nothing is actually writing about something. You might shiver at the delicate thread tickling the back of your neck, telling you that a conditional thing is a thing, nonetheless. You might say that by writing about nothing, I had a subject, namely, nothing, which is thereby something. But that thread is in the grasp of a monkey. He is toying with you. We have already established that nothing is something that does not exist. And I have taken Chemistry, inorganic, organic, and bio. And I have learned that something cannot be created from nothing. My subject, therefore, does not exist. Ha ha. I have no subject. Nor monkey.

In the end, I have met the criteria. I wrote about nothing. What I wrote about was neither here nor there, not focussed anywhere. And I had no subject. What about opinion, you ask? The challenge explicitly requires the writing to lack opinion. So, I take back the part about U-Pay HealthCare. And that is that. No need to thank me. It was nothing.

Audrey is a distance ed maven and part-time writer living in the United
Kingdom. She is finishing her last year of an honours Master of Health
Science degree, in preparation for a distance ed PhD in how to get a
distance ed PhD. A mother of four, she sporadically sleeps, is in love with
fractal math, and has found peace where neuroscience and Java programming

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