Crazy without Pain

Images from a life not lived appear on the screen. I write the words that make the images appear. Or do I observe the writing of them, or do I do both? I’m the writer since my hands are on the keyboard. Yet what I’ve been imagining doesn’t feel like my own creation. Brief sentences are the best I can do, although they don’t capture the pain and magic of the images: I could’ve been a scholar; I could have dedicated my life to religion; I could’ve been a lawyer. These words originated in what came to me while I read earlier this afternoon with a cup of strong Irish tea. The text wasn’t unfamiliar to me, or maybe it was. I read and reread the notes I’d written in the margin. Why did I take notes while reading an interview? The interview with the psychoanalyst in his Manhattan office comprised the last chapter of a paperback that, until this afternoon, had remained untouched on the shelf for many months. A month isn’t much time. This psychoanalyst sounds unlike any other psychoanalyst I’ve listened to; the craziness I sense in his mind attracts me to his work. Craziness exists in my mind, too. It’s painful to glimpse the lives I’ll never live. This life, the one that my writing is part of, is painful enough.

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