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by Anne Marie Wirth Cauchon

with WTFRU? (PARTS 1 & 2)

a video by AMANDA SUCKOW

On the one hand, it’s ridiculous to write anything about silence—to try and convey silence through its opposite. On the other hand, you and I have little else.

I’m writing this upon my return to the sky, Flight NK570 Fort Myers to Minneapolis. Flight was my reaction to a barrage of words—months of words, years of words that (like Jacques Lacan knew well) never reach their destination. Words that forever miss the mark, that convey too little and too much. Words that serve only misunderstanding and division, though you and I have kept on believing they will let us share, know, unite. Or maybe, in truth, we’ve just kept on believing they will let us prove, judge, conquer, or possess.

So what of silence? Silence as a weapon of repression or control. Silencing: the suppression or removal of an other’s expression, voice, or even life. In that case words can act as tools for change: the chant, the viral one-liner, the legal motion, the court ruling.

But there is also silence as an elusive gift and discipline or luxury. The silence of solitude, or the silence shared with an other, just as I am seated in this window seat beside a stranger. Together we’re quietly watching the sky. Without speaking we’re watching the horizon curl off at a distance—the shape of this perfect sphere that contains us with a gentle atmosphere. At least for now, since each airline flight—like this one—makes a temporary balance all the more precarious.

Still, for the moment the sky holds, and us in it.

So, how does one convey the stunning, wild privilege of witnessing, with an other, a sight like the sky from within? How does one convey the fleeting, delicate, excruciating solitude and connection of existence, even with our best tool—language? It can’t be done. The same holds true for heartbreak, or the pain of death. Throwing words at one’s suffering proves a weak salve or solace.

So perhaps what remains as nepenthe in these direst of times is only silence. Silence, that which does not explain, or prove, or justify, or defend, or condemn, or dismiss, as language often does. Only silence, that simple gift and restful practice, or release.


WTFRU (parts 1 & 2) are two narratives of the same event, spanning healing and time, told simultaneously through audio panning.

A nonbinary queer person describes their day from their morning ritual of affirmations and coffee to the evening, juxtaposing a dissociative Tinder hookup (part 1) against tender masturbation (part 2). The sexual connection with others and self is a response to the event that titles the piece. A stranger approaches the narrator, who is out for a walk. The stranger is “bewildered by the (narrator’s) full beard and full hips” and asks the narrator, “what the fuck are you?”

WTFRU (parts 1 & 2) incorporates unapologetic visual and auditory texture that suggests dissociation and presence: “The covering of silence that brings me both closer to, and further from, home.”

The credit’s soundscape “I Am Enough” answers the question the main title piece poses.


Anne Marie Wirth Cauchon is Editor-in-Chief of Stillpoint Magazine, and Creative Director of the PrairieCare Institute’s Center for Applied Psychoanalysis, the mother of two, a PhD candidate in English and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, and the author of the novel Nothing.


Amanda Suckow is a queer and nonbinary musician, educator, storyteller, and artist located in Chicago, IL. Their work is grounded in the exploration of texture: the intentional layering of sound, words, color, taste, and healing stretched over time.

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