The Nearly Project

Nearlyology started life over ten years ago when I came up with the term as a jokey concept for a satirical comic novel. The Nearly Project has since developed into my PhD on Nearlywriting Nearlyology, my novel WHAT DIDN’T QUITE, a suite of Nearly Songs, and a number of workshops, performances and experimental events at the Royal Society of Arts, The Poetry Café and Poetry Society, The Poets’ House in New York, Club Inegales in Euston, Schmiede Festival in Hallein, Austria, Bath Spa University’s Rich Mix conference, plus pop up shops and cafes in London, Bath and Bristol.

Over that time I’ve found that so many people in all these places wanted to share the stories of the things they’ve nearly done, and talk about how their nearlies shape who we ‘really’ are.

In 2020 Nearly stories gained new significance in pandemic lockdown when so many people were looking at diaries full of happenings that hadn’t been able to happen, meetings, holidays, parties, projects that had been anticipated and imagined but never occured.  

In May 2020 I discovered I had cancer and, following a major op, am now undergoing chemotherapy, hoping to be fully cured but aware that I’ve entered a state of uncertainty which raises questions about how to feel whole when you’re only nearly well, to feel fully alive at a time when I may be nearly dead…which of course we all are sort of.  

I run Zoom discussion groups for small numbers of people to talk together. In my experience talking about this stuff is more often pleasurable than painful. Nearlies may feel like regrets and failures when you lock them away, but looked at afresh and shared, become a fascinating extra dimension of our lives.

If you’d like to write about your Nearlies, and if you’d be interested in chatting about them on Zoom tell me HERE.

  • Chris Ifso, 2020
Nearly Manifesto mini-book


Nearlyologists call on all people to share freely and openly one with another who they really and nearly are.

In the analogue age we led linear lives with beginnings, middles and ends;
in digital times we can be nearly many in various virtual spacesIn the age of austerity there’s much we may want but not actually get;
these unactable desires deserve to be acknowledged as part of our being.

We are what we eat – and what we’ve nearly eaten.

Once others decided which were real writers deserving reproduction.

Today we are nearlywriters, able to amplify and illuminate words and pictures but responsible for deciding when our work is cooked enough to show and to whom to show it.We learn constantly, approximately, way outside the confines of formal institutions; we are students of the Nearlyversity

Only through conversation with others can we decide which nearlies we might still want to realise.In the middle of the journey of life what we’ve done and nearly done begins to blur.Far more things nearly happen than happen.

The universe is held together by the dust of of human kind’s nearlyincidence.

Embrace your nearliness.  Contribute to the Nearlyology. Be nearly.

Filmed by Lise Smith at Chisenhale Dance. Performance by Jia-Yu Corti & Chris Ifso

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s