Tag Archives: lacan

writing our lacunes

miss.tic graffiti in Paris with the words, A Lacan ses Lacunes (Lacan has its gaps (lacks?))Good morning! The birds are doing their short sharp morning songs out my window. Who’s complaining?

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I just thought of the last prompt for this weekend’s Writing the Flood workshop — it’s going to be a fun one! Just a couple of spaces still open. Please let me know if you’d like to join us!

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This morning I’d like to talk about psychoanalysis — but the joke (or not joke) is that I don’t have the language yet for the conversation I’d like to enter about/around/with psychoanalysis. What I can tell you, though, is that I’m fascinated by my desire to speak (with) that tongue at all. When I was working on my MA, I wrote explicitly against traditional psychoanalysis (without ever studying it deeply) because those traditions had been used directly against me, the language of Freud had been used against me, in my home, by the man who was abusing my family — a man who was himself no analyst, but a dilettante in the arena of psychology. At 12, I didn’t know that. At 14 or 16, he was interpreting my dreams according to whatever analysis worked best for him. I didn’t want any part in those practices — I wanted to help people, work with people, write with people, completely outside the Clinic. Don’t call it therapy — that word made me feel ill (despite the fact that I knew good and generous and thoughtful and engaged therapists, despite the fact that I knew that most therapists weren’t doing what my mother’s husband had done).

(Of course, what I most wanted was to work with people outside of Power — let there be no power imbalances, let there be no group dynamics, let us somehow step outside of our human-ness. This is impossible, and it took several years for me to settle into a kind of comfort with navigating the sorts of Power questions that cycle in and through and around the room during a workshop. I associated Power with perpetration as well– talk about needing to release/relinquish a prejudice: This meant I felt my own personal power was inherently negative, predatory, and I wanted to have no power at all. But, wait, I already hadn’t had power, had I? Or did I just have power negotiating his world, his constructions, his rules? What did it mean to acknowledge and step into my power outside of his world?)

I have written before about re-thinking and even releasing prejudices;  given the vehemence of my arguments against the Clinic, against traditional analysis, it shouldn’t be at all surprising to me that I’m now wanting to study it more deeply (in one of the pieces in my first chapbook, I wrote: If I ignore you, it’s a sure bet I’ve got a crush on you. I’ve even come around to skinny jeans, after a year or so of railing loudly against them.)

And still, those old languagings, the male supremacy, the sexism, the hostility toward woman and mother: all that still infuriates me. Penis envy — really? Are we still having that conversation, that boys shape their sexuality around what they’re afraid of losing, and girls shape their sexuality around what they don’t have? Doesn’t everyone have desire for what they don’t have? Isn’t that what desire means? It’s maybe too early for me to ask these sorts of indignant questions —

But there’s something else that’s drawing me in, particularly around Lacanian analysis and responses to his theories, and it’s deep and personal: I want to know my own secret, hidden languages. I want to know the words for the stuff that drives me. I want to discover the ways I’ve already (always?) been telling the stories that I consciously believe are untellable, through my freewrites, through my speech, maybe through my actions. I want to learn the other languages that I’ve already been speaking. This, to me, seems like something I can come to discover through a relationship with a good analyst, and that’s kind of exciting to me.  Then, too, I want to learn how to help others to find their own relationship with this other language, the language (of) our unconscious, our gaps, our lacunes, through our writing.

That’s the end goal — or end question: is that possible?

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a prompt? What about that quote in there: If I ignore you, it’s a sure bet I’ve got a crush on you. How does that land for you? Is there something/someone you and/or your character is ignoring out of a desire not to be seen as too wanting, or for some other reason? Want to take 10 or 15 minutes and let yourself just freewrite in that direction today?

You’re amazing to me, and I’m grateful for you. Thank you for your words.

We practice writing to know ourselves changing

graffiti from miss tic: a woman with devil horns, hands crossed in front of her, next to the words "A Lacan Ses Lacunes"“The unconscious is structured like a language” – Jacques Lacan

“We are in no way obliged to deposit our lives in their [the Lacanian fathers’] banks of lack, to consider the constitution of the subject in terms of a drama manglingly restaged, to reinstate again and again the religion of the father.” – Hélène Cixous [1]


“Women come to writing, I believe, simultaneously with self-creation” – Carolyn Heilbrun [2].

There’s a sense of self that can emanate through writing. It is a transgressive self, a shifting, slippery self that doesn’t have to have one single constituency, is not beholden to one instantiation of a single and stable I. Continued writing practice can open a path to this consciousness.

Latina author Maria Lugones, shifting identities as she moves among the various communities she inhabits, describes a feeling “of being a different person in different ‘worlds’ and yet of having memory of oneself as different without quite having the sense of there being an underlying ‘I.’”[3]

There are ways, of course, in which this can be intensely painful, yet it does not have to be a uniformly negative experience, however–particularly when we are writing for self-creation or self-discovery. On the page I have felt it to be quite liberating. We are ever-changing. We are–I am–never the same from one moment to the next. All my meanings are always already changing–and so are yours and so are yours. Today you are new and old. Nothing is ever not changing in you. We are always never the same. The girl or boy who was raped is/not you. The adult who (was) fucked is/not you. We are/not the same. Not parenthesized, not encapsulated. We practice writing to know ourselves changing.


“Write! and your self-seeking text will know itself better than flesh and blood […] When I write, it’s everything that we don’t know we can be that is written out of me, without exclusions, without stipulation, and everything we will be calls us to the unflagging, intoxicating, unappeasable search for love.  In one another we will never be lacking.” Cixous [1]

Thank you for the ways you allow yourself to unfold and enact, instantiate, moment after moment after moment after moment. Thank you for the creation of your words.


[1] Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa (Keith Cohen and Paula Cohen, trans.) Signs 1(4), 1976, 875-893.

[2] Carolyn Heilbrun, Writing A Woman’s Life, 1988, p 117)

[3] Maria Lugones, “Playfulness, ‘World’-Traveling, and Loving Perception. In Tomoko Kuribayashi and Julie Tharp (eds.), Creating Safe Space: Violence and Women’s Writing. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1998, p 174.

still learning the muscles required

graffiti of silhouette standing beneath a raincloud, and another silhouette offering that person an umbrellaI’m just beginning the first of many re-reads of Annie G. Roger’s A Shining Affliction — I want to tell you about it, but I don’t know if my words are far enough away from the story to really get into the details yet this morning. I can’t do a book report or a review yet, although I’d like to. I do know that it’s re-sparked my curiosity about and interest in Lacanian psychoanalysis (which got fully opened when I first read another of her books, The Unsayable: The hidden language of trauma, a couple of years ago, and has been lingering and touching my terror of it ever since).

this morning I have story after story I want to tell you, and I am too scared and stuck to open my mouth

What are the languagings for that experience? I’m aware of being badly in need of help, and not knowing why anyone would help me, and, while I’m feeling all this, experiencing, too, that self above the self that watches and is curious about it all: where does that certainty of not being help-able, not being worth helping, come from?

I want you to read her work and then talk with me about it — I want to go to where she is and study with her. This feels too exposed, writing this, naming my desire for a teacher. This is all so layered, in a culture that values (the myth of) individualism and sees any request for help as a sign of weakness.

One thing that happens with this book (A Shining Affliction, I mean) for me as a reader and a survivor of trauma and a facilitator of healing/transformative spaces with and for others, is that I’m offered the opportunity to be imperfect, un-cured, incompletely healed, as I move forward in my own work. That it is ok to still be wounded and healing (and doing your work around that wounding, of course) when you are working on holding space for others to do their work. I get stuck around that sometimes: I feel I should be entirely well, fixed — and that, if I’m not, I risk doing harm to others, those in my workshops; no, that, in fact, I am harming them, period. That I am harm. (That’s some old stuff.)

Of course, who, in this culture, is entirely well? And, separate from that, isn’t it true that the “healer” who is aware of and working on hir own stuff is providing more safety for the folks ze works with, because ze is more able to see hir triggers and ‘stuff’ as separate from the other person’s stuff? And we know that the isolation of those who experience trauma contributes to this feeling of being both unsafe and unhelpable. (How’s that for distancing language? I mean to say, the ways I was isolated during my adolescence contribute to this sense of having to do for myself, still learning the muscles required to reach out for help.)

I would like to be more articulate about this this morning, but I have to get ready for work.


What would you like help with? In what areas do you feel unhelpable? Can you write out the help you (or your character) would like, in as much detail as possible?


Thank you for the help you provide to others, and the ways you allow yourself to risk letting other people help you. Thank you thank you for your words.