Uncanniness of Today

Frustration on Friday night became anticipation on Saturday morning. Anticipation of what, I wondered. Reading the letters of early psychoanalysts was helping me to focus on the uncanny in everyday life. I didn’t use that word often, although the reality behind it, the unusual, the mysterious, felt true in my own daily existence. Perhaps mindfulness helped to explain things. Whenever I focused on moment-to-moment activity in my mind, I often realized that things happened on their own, without the help of conscious thought. In other words, when I paid attention to things it became clear that I had little control over what happened next. These sentences seemed to move me far away from the psychoanalytic correspondence I’d read before seven this morning. I had to be somewhere at nine, so I had coffee prepared by six. As if by accident, last night I’d started to read Bloomsbury/Freud: The Letters of James and Alix Strachey 19241925, and I read more letters from 1924 this morning. Once I’d finished the coffee and was preparing breakfast, I wondered why this hardcover had remained untouched on the shelf for four years (I’d written the date on which I’d bought it on the flyleaf). It was as if unconsciously I’d been avoiding the psychoanalytic world of the 1920s. Another book came to mind, which included James Strachey’s paper “The Nature of the Therapeutic Action of Psychoanalysis.” I’d also been avoiding that book and Strachey’s paper, which had come to mind in recent days. I had a good memory of reading it one Friday night years ago, but whenever the memory came to me it was replaced by a thought or an image. This morning I also reread parts of the introduction to Bloomsbury/Freud. The lives of James and Alix Strachey became more real to me, as did the lives of other psychoanalysts such as D.W. Winnicott, Franz Alexander, and Otto Fenichel. I had one of Winnicott’s books, and at most I’d read two or three pages of it. Saturday morning wouldn’t last forever, there were tasks to be done, and after this thought I realized that perhaps I was anticipating what another day on earth would be like. Each day was as important and as mysterious as the one before.

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