Writing Counselor for a Moment

This is what can happen to a writer when his inner world becomes real to him on the page. I was an invisible observer. Neither of the two people in the room knew of my presence. I felt as if they were having this conversation for me. These were their moments. Yet I felt that the moments of these fifty minutes were also meant for me. I wonder why I imagine such a situation, me eavesdropping on someone else’s session of psychotherapy. Maybe I imagine myself seated across from the therapist, and I’m telling her my personal story. A story comes to mind, of how psychology discovered me. I was alone on an Amtrak train, traveling from Seattle to Washington, D.C., and back again. I’d just quit my first real job after university, as a reporter at a small newspaper, and I wasn’t ready to think about my future. I also knew my future wouldn’t wait for me. Those days on the train felt like a lifetime, and they felt like a single moment. A single, momentous moment happened, on the final day, as the train crossed Montana, on its way to Seattle. I was in my mid 20s. My emotional, intellectual, reading, and writing futures were about to introduce themselves to me. In many ways, I was unprepared to become an adult. I was an adolescent in a twenty-seven year-old body. During those days on the train, the obvious had become clear to me: I had no interest in being a reporter. On that final day, as the train crossed Montana, I walked from my seat to the restroom, and as I opened the door to enter, an inner voice spoke to me, for the very first time: You’re meant to be a counselor. I knew nothing about therapy. I didn’t even know that I was an introvert. In a moment, my life changed. I haven’t been the same since. This is my inner world. I’ve been imagining and observing my mind as I’ve been writing these sentences. Much of what I’ve written is true. Yet my imagination has been involved. This is what happens when I imagine myself eavesdropping on someone else’s session of psychotherapy. I become part of it and find myself telling my own story. Perhaps I must ask myself: what kind of writing counselor am I becoming?

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