Narrator in Charge

Months ago, the first words my narrator wrote down in his journal of notes were: my life changed this afternoon. My narrator was part of me, a fictional version of myself, that I’d imagined had his own story to tell. I felt as if my narrator should know how he was born. “The idea of creating you came to me last summer, in late June or early July, although I wasn’t aware of being so creative at the time.” This was an imaginary conversation I had with my own narrator last night. Maybe he and the psychological part of me were born together at the start of last summer when a dream of mine of the past two decades became reality. It was hard for me to write the last sentence because I’d assumed I’d been a psychological thinker for at least two decades. My first fifty minutes on the psychoanalytic couch, on a warm early summer day last year, was all the proof I needed that I remained trapped in my own mind. My narrator came alive in me after that initial session on the couch. I remembered returning home, also my office where I earned my living editing articles that didn’t interest me, and writing about what had happened in Sarah’s office. At some point in those sixty minutes I became aware that I wasn’t the only one writing, as if an unknown part of me were in charge. He wasn’t as interested as me in reporting what had occurred during the session in chronological order. He seemed to treat reality in an imaginative way. Fiction is as real as anything else, he seemed to say. Last night, as if for the first time, I realized that my narrator had been telling his own story about being in psychoanalysis ever since that initial session on the couch. So he and I had been in Sarah’s office together. My narrator continued to take notes after sessions, and I helped, and then we worked on creating a somewhat fictional narrative. Did all of this really happen in my mind? I imagined my narrator listening to my question and responding: let’s write and find out.

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