Nearlies of 2012 – Rich Mix, Royal College, if:book cafe etc…

I NEARLY… got run over by a green 2CV in Brighton, when I ran into the road without looking 

– Lisa Gee

Nearlies from Hornsey Library users:

I NEARLY was a rock guitarist, but it never healed, my broken wrist (sad and true)

I NEARLY escaped from Hornsey a few times.. but in the end I got stuck

I NEARLY was a circus artist but the boss was too much trouble
I NEARLY was a bodyguard, but the company training me went bust

Nearlies from participants in the Writing Platform day at Rich Mix, Hackney:

“I NEARLY gave up writing long form narrative.. but I changed my mind.” – Kate Pullinger

“I NEARLY got a script taken by the BBC at age 13. My mother vetoed it. I nearly… forgave her!”


“I NEARLY went into a career with Kentucky Fried Chicken” @thelitplatform

These Nearlyincidents submitted by students on the Royal College of Art MA in Critical Writing in Art & Design, October 2012 

I nearly spoke to a man on the tube today about how great the book he was holding is. Then I remembered what happened the last time I approached someone in the same way and thought. better.

I nearly became Catholic but didn’t want to declare what I’d done in front of an audience.

I was turned on by Jimmy Saville. phwoar

I was asked out by every member of Take That and turned them all down!

This morning I nearly blew up the RCA. Paul, the man outside, offered my detailed instructions on how to do it.

I nearly, almost, maybe finished a human-sized bag of wotsit-type-crisps and then nearly vomited orange.

I nearly made the giant crumpets for a certain butter advert. I still have one.

I nearly started up a cafe – ‘space’ – review website for the benefit of stressed out students that couldn’t find a place to work in the university library. There was a definite demand for it; I had a logo, website layout and a heap of enthusiasm but not enough time during the exam-term. Last week, I thought about instigating the project in London for freelancers but gave up at the first hurdle. I hear nearliness happens to entrepreneur all the time.

Each year I nearly go and live in the forest. Which one? I dont know. Why do you want to do this? Because I read Beckett.I nearly stayed home. I nearly moved to Montreal. I nearly moved to Cambridge. I nearly learned to ride a bike and punt along canals and I nearly married a don so I could walk on the grass.

I nearly married a man I met under a tree in Cambridge

I don’t like to apply ‘nearliness’ to my decisions. So far, most of my choices have turned out pretty well. I find it hard to imagine my other lives or I don’t want to. In any case if I hadn’t made the bad decisions that I did, would I have ever made it to that specific time and place where I made the best choice of all? I need my mistakes;, some of them turned out to be very useful indeed.

I nearly moved to Holland.

I nearly said yes to running a shisha lounge in Durham, then chose to set one up in London instead.

I nearly ended up stranded in Johannesburg airport, but thankfully the kind man behind me paid for my flight. ( I nearly accepted 30p for a chocolate bar I couldn’t afford by the woman at London Bridge newstand)

I nearly drowned in my own lung fluid.

I nearly wasn’t born.

I nearly played football for Manchester United, I was young, not from Manchester, full of spirit and gung hoe but ultimately shit at football.

I nearly believed that sentence.

I have a habit of seeing life as a series of nearly-disasters. (a philosophical mish mash of Thomas Hardy and Sliding Doors).

I nearly called the fire brigade after being drunk and thinking that the TV was on fire… It was just switched on.

I nearly set up a cinema in Manchester
I was nearly an extra in the recent Anna Karenina film but I had a bitch fight with Kiera Knightly.

I was nearly taken to hospital by quadbike from Hadrian’s Wall.

I was nearly born in a convent.

i nearly started up a Sexy David Mitchell tumblr – before realising it already existed.

I nearly didn’t apply for the Critical Writing Course at the Royal College of Art. Feeling that I was at a junction in my life, I was pathologically attempting to plan my future: lists, life-plans, mind-maps and strategic blueprints. I wrote an email to David, listing my experience and concerns and asking if I might be an appropriate candidate. Had his inbox been full, had my email gone to trash, had he not responded then I might not have made the decision to apply. So many of my life altering decisions have been made based on a flip piece of advice, the chance reading of an article, being at the right or wrong place at a particular time. It’s tempting to believe in a sort of fate, or in a self made but hidden logic if only to protect ourselves from the feeling that our lives are governed by bizarre unknowable forces outside our control.

I nearly had a hot shower this morning. I woke up, had biscuits and milk for breakfast. Then I returned to my room and I forgot to push the red button for hot water.

I nearly was a rich daughter, but my father decided to change his work.

During my Foundation year I nearly went on a study trip to Berlin. The night before, when I was packing, I couldn’t find my passport. I don’t know what would’ve happened in
Berlin, maybe nothing.

I nearly studied classical voice in undergrad but decided at the eleventh hour to study interior design. If I hadn’t studied interior design, I would have never studied abroad in London, nor met my tutor who was doing his MA in Architecture at the RCA, and never would have visited the 2010 student spring show and fallen in love with the energy here at the college, then never would have returned to Michigan with the dream of one day studying at the RCA. I nearly never applied for CWAD on a whim over my Christmas break of my senior year of BA (because I was bored), and nearly never came here to study on this program and meet all of you. But then I did, and here I am.
I nearly always forget/find it hard to pronounce my own name when introducing myself over the phone.

I nearly always forget my own age.

I nearly wrote something terribly inconsequential.
Instead I state that I am writing, and could not think of any act more liberating, other than perhaps painting.
As such I fail to have written anything of consequence,

This exercise’s risk of authorship presents a state of near-criticism. If I admitted to writing each and every sentence on the page I, personally, might have been criticised for my writing. But because no one knows that I even participated, I can decline any responsibility and remove myself as its target. But could I still nearly be affected?

Nearlies from twitter and comments on this site

Geraldine BrennanApr 11, 2012 01:00 PM
I got offered a job with the BBC in Manchester in 1984. I turned it down because my then husband didn’t want me to move to Manchester (we lived in London) and, being from Liverpool, I thought I might not like Manchester. How wet was that? My marriage lasted another two years and my incredulity at my stupidity another 20 at least. But more significantly, I stopped going on about moving back to the North West and became a dyed-in-the-wool Londoner.

Regina HoughtelingApr 11, 2012 01:42 PM
nearlyness is a state of being—i didn’t pick but i live it, perhaps muchlyness is the opposite state of being?
regine kelly

AnonymousApr 11, 2012 10:45 PM
I nearly…had it all!

@ljndawson I nearly got hit by a bus once, while on my way to see @brianoleary. Otherwise, everything happens fully-realized for me.

@ifbook Wow – a life of fullrealisation! Now is that a good thing or a shame more hasnt nearly happened to you?

@ljndawson If we’re talking about a bus nearly running me down, I’m glad it was nearly and not fully. So…a good thing!
Perhaps it is because I strive to always do exactly what I want? Do you have a link to ur project?
Nearlyincidences are the ones that intrigue me most!

@caxtonian I nearly saw Gil Scott Heron but lost the tickets on the Underground.

this was nearly 20 years ago

It has always frustrated me as I missed him in Manchester too as I was away when he played theHacienda too.

I have some that I nearly missed that I was pleased to have gone to…

@ifbook Great #nearly! After all those years you remember – more than if you’d gone
Think of all the gigs you did go to and haven’t thought twice about since.

LIS4G33 I was once, #nearly not allowed on a flight because the airline was worried that I might be a suicide bomber.

John WilksApr 13, 2012 01:12 AM
I nearly wasn’t born. Then where would I have been?

In July 2009, at the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, I saw a quartz hand axe from the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania that scientists estimate is 1,650,000 years old. I started to think then about what my ancestors might have been like more than a million and a half years ago. Did they have thoughts as I do? Did they have memories or hopes or fears? Did they enjoy the colours blue and green? How many babies were nearly not born, starting with the baby of the male and female who lived at the same time as the person who wielded that axe, before it was my turn to be born? I reckon it’s about 800,000. 800,000 human dominoes toppling through the ages, not one domino failing to touch the next one into life and movement.

How many events that brought about my existence from the beginning of evolution nearly didn’t happen? And will there ever be a person 1,650,000 years in the future who exists because of my ability to procreate and the amazing phenomenon that an almost infinite number of events nearly don’t happen between now and then?

Phew! I think I need to calm down and have another cup of green tea.
– John Wilks   Friday 13th 2012

I nearly didn’t find my husband. I’d seen him on a train, somewhere between Ludlow and Leominster. I felt as if I knew him. He was on crutches. I was trying to write a speech for my best friend’s wedding the next day. We spoke briefly and didn’t exchange names. Three weeks after the wedding, a friend was on the loo, idly flicking through the small ads. She spotted one that referred to a man on crutches, a woman writing a wedding speech, a train journey through Herefordshire. That was how our lives came together again.

Ah but do reallynearly negatives count (what nearly wasn’t), or only reallynearly positives (what nearly was)?

 Fiona Godfrey8 July 2012 09:30