Alive in Their Words

I enjoy reading letters written by dead psychoanalysts. Freud is one of them. Jung is another, who stopped being a Freudian to become his own kind of analyst. These two men, colleagues at the time, wrote each other letters for several years. I pause while I write these words to glance at the volume containing those letters on a bookshelf across the small room that I call home during much of the day. This reminds me of work that I must finish before lunchtime, editing business articles that helps pay the bills. I don’t have time to write about whatever comes to mind. Time reminds me of what I was reading half an hour ago, in the living room, with a morning cup of coffee, before my body and mind transported themselves to this room, where sometimes I feel trapped in a job that I sense will soon become part of my past. Thirty minutes ago I read a letter written to Freud in 1910 by another psychoanalyst, Sándor Ferenczi, who was teaching an evening class to a diverse group of professionals interested in psychoanalysis. Ferenczi’s passion and dedication to his work was clear in his words. Freud, in a letter of his own, warned his younger colleague not to overdo it, since several months remained before summer vacation. Both men died in the 1930s. Yet they were alive to me this morning, in their words, and I imagined entering Ferenczi’s consulting room in Budapest, and the idea for this paragraph had arrived.


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