Johanna Pentikäinen: Knowing about writing – or writing about knowing?

Landings, paths, edges, and layers – what else? In my essay, I will discuss contemporary approaches to writing as an open-ended and transformative practice with enormous potential of producing spaces of hybrid understanding. However, the great contradiction of writing lies in the fact that writing is often defined as an artifact separate from the body that produces it, and accordingly, we often know what it is or should be instead of understanding how to get there. Writers are responsible for the production of their own maps, and even before that, they need to grant access to the landscape. I look at different attempts of defining the happening of writing (somatic, nomadic, companionship) and some tools that have been used in developing specific site-sensitive writing practices. Additionally, I discuss some hybrid memoirs as examples of how the multi material writing fiber is produced, collected, and weaved together, as seen from the finished product perspective. My essay aims to discuss how embodied writing happens and why knowing about writing does not ensure one´s own writing to happen.


I am a devoted writer as well as a writing teacher and researcher. My publications are on teaching literature, writing, and self-reflection skills through reading and movies. Besides that, I have developed a more innovative, reflective, and often arts-informed approach to writing when teaching writing in the universities of art. Recently, I have been writing hybrid essays and fiction.