This piece is late. By almost two years. Ostensibly I have been busy, but that is not the real reason. Rather, I am hesitant. I am afraid. I am wary. I am suspicious. I am not entirely sure of the object of my fears, suspicions, wariness, and hesitancy. I am not sure why it is that these conditions afflict me. But they are there, willing me not to write. So great is their force that sometimes I liken finishing this piece to a giant exorcism. The doubts and fears that make it difficult to write this piece are very

different from those that accompany the kind of writing that I am trained to do as an acolyte in the discipline of International Relations (IR), and of contemporary American social science. Those doubts concern whether I am sufficiently and faithfully reproducing a certain genre, a certain plotline. A genre that goes beyond which particular methods or theoretical frameworks I use. Those doubts center on how well I am constructing the problem, whether I have consulted the appropriate literature, and of course, whether I have been rigorous enough in my methods. I have until now had a sense of dissatisfaction about the ways in which I have proceeded with that endeavor. It seemed to be a rather mechanical task: find problem, contort problem into a paradox that then begs for a particular theoretical approach, set up three schools of thought as literature review, introduce particular framework, apply methods, predictably solve problem. Part of my fear comes from having to write without this map. I have no

control. There is no predictability. There are no rules on what I should do. There are no signposts indicating how to proceed. And most importantly, no safe separation between object and subject. I turn to the editor who

refuses to provide the comfort of guidelines, except for a “helpful” suggestion about word length. Let me be clear. I am not clear about the precise reasons for embarking on

this journey, or its destination. Fear, hesitancy, suspicion, wariness, and now resentment are the cargo onboard. The only life jacket aboard, and this is what allows me to cut the moorings, is this thought: if I am a social being, then there must other ships carrying similar cargo. And if there are other ships at sea, then my burdens are not my burdens alone, but shared. Moreover, while I may not be clear as to where I am heading, I already know that I cannot remain at port any longer. I cannot ignore the stormy waters of the deep sea anymore. The shallowness of the sailors at port alternatively infuriates and bores me. These sailors do not speak of being battered by stormy waves not of their making. They do not speak of uncharted, deep waters. They do not speak of the possibilities of dangerous currents and eddies. To them, the possibility of distant dangerous seas does not exist. If it does, it is not something to be acknowledged. The words, concepts, and theories of disciplinary IR are inadequate for my

purposes. They map the shallow waters around port but cannot and refuse to acknowledge deeper waters. Yet, these words are the ones readily at my disposal. The long, hard years of apprenticeship seem to have ironically paid off. Even as I recognize the inadequacy of much of this language that I have mastered, I realize that I don’t have an alternative that can even provide a glimpse of the stormy waters, let alone navigate them. I fear that my writing in this essay will be no more than stammers. Stammers that do not add up.