Creative with a Black Book

This book brings to mind so much personal history that part of me imagines returning it to its place on the shelf and leaving the room. For a moment I compare this room with my mind. In that case, if I were to leave, where would I go? I can’t leave my own mind, can I? I’m very particular when it comes to my books. I wash my hands carefully before touching them. Yet once a book is open and I’m reading it, I don’t hesitate to pick up a pen and write in the margin. It’s my book. No one can tell me how to be creative with it. This particular hardcover with its black dust jacket has been with me for nearly two decades. We met across the country, in upstate New York, where I lived for six months. That summer I travelled to Scandinavia to visit family, and for some reason, I took the black book with me. I probably wouldn’t do that today. A couple of sentences above, I wrote that this hardcover and I met across the country. What is this writing doing to my mind? Maybe these sentences have helped me to feel creative, as if I were with the black hardcover, Volume 11 of Jung’s Collected Works, Psychology and Religion: West and East, pen in hand, and an image or a thought, or both, came to me. I imagine writing in the margin on one of its pages: my mind is big enough for fear. I can be afraid and remain in the room of my mind. That summer nearly twenty years ago, the black book returned with me to Seattle from the trip to Norway and Sweden with a few stains on its pages. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve opened it since then, not counting today, as if I were punishing myself for being creative with Jung’s Volume 11 all those years ago. We have much more creative work to do together, my black book and I.

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