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.