Word Risks

Fifteen years of reading and speaking in Spanish has its advantages. In my good moments during a day, I also think in my second language. These sentences come to me in English. I’m writing in this journal that I keep as a sort of record of what happens during each fifty-minute encounter with my psychoanalyst. Encounter can’t be the right word. What is a right word? He and I meet at scheduled times each week, both of us know the hours ahead of time, yet each session often becomes, to me, a surprise. The images that I’ve yet to record on paper, in sentences that have yet to be written, constitute a surprise. Our next session is in two hours. Other things besides this writing exercise demand my attention. But I can’t help myself. In my imagination, I’m in the office of another psychoanalyst, the gender remains a mystery, in Buenos Aires, in Argentina, where, according to what I read in Spanish yesterday online, psychoanalysis, especially Lacanian psychoanalysis, is alive and well. Am I alive and well? Is my work with Martin alive and well? Writing in this way reminds me of learning a new language. I feel as if I’m taking a risk in writing these sentences. Learning Spanish in Madrid was full of verbal and mental risks, on a daily basis. Psychoanalysis on the couch is similar. Each word spoken or unspoken, each silence, sometimes feels like a risk. As Martin listens and occasionally speaks, I learn, as if for the first time, to think and to feel and to experience. Language, speech, words, sentences, become real to me on the couch.

 

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