I hope readers of this post will indulge my flippant reference to DJ Khaled. Upon completing my essay on Saturday, I inadvertantly got to experience both a cycle of memory and forgetting as well as violence as the performance of waste. I saved my essay three times and even created a new tag to find it more easily. When I went to submit my essay on Canvas, it was nowhere to be found. Completely gone. I was initially in disbelief as I calmly searched every corner of my computer’s memory before I came to accept that no amount of configuration would bring back the labor I expended on this assignment.
I then continued my performance by including Beth in my violent performance of waste. Roach says that violence requires an audience of some kind because it is intrinsically performative, and so it did in my case as Beth and I were forced to respond to (Roach 41). Through a desperate and hastily-constructed email, I attempted to illicit sympathy for my plight and acquire an extension, even though the last thing I wanted was for this performance of waste to include any more of Beth’s or my time as part of its collateral damage.
Once I accepted that rewriting the essay would be my only path forward, I found myyself belonging to the cycle of memory and forgetting. Even though I had just read through my paper multiple times, the prospect of recreating my original paper exactly seemed impossible (and indeed it was). I worried that sense the original material I created was no longer accessible to me, my overall potential for succeeding would somehow be diminished, even though writing a paper for the second time should be a much easier task. In my rewrite, my memory was compromised by the performative violence of losing my essay. I altered, expanded upon, or omitted entire sections of my argument from the first version of my essay to reflect my current mental state and the way I was processing the assignment the second time through. I definitiely still consider this experience a performance of waste, but as Roach suggested, this waste was not senseless (Roach 41). It served a purpose in that it forced me to process and understand Roach’s point in a personal setting and reflect on the assignment in a completely different frame of mind, which was still very much a valuable exercise. It also forced me to switch my writing approach to Google Docs because of its automatic save feature so that I never have to endure this again.