A Life without an Author

Words come to me as if I were observing someone else writing, and I write them down as quickly as possible. “Sometimes it’s hard to admit that I’m the author of my own life.” I imagine saying these words in a psychoanalyst’s office, seated across from someone I’ve met only through his books. I’m not in his Manhattan consulting room for psychological treatment. Why am I here, I wonder, as I write these sentences. I need help are the first words to appear on the screen. I need help to tell my own story. Why have I flown from Seattle to New York to speak whatever comes to mind for fifty minutes to someone who, in reality, was born in 1922? My return flight to Seattle leaves in the morning. Perhaps I’m writing this narrative to discover something that is waiting for me to find it. Anger comes first. I want the old psychoanalyst to ask me what I’m angry about. Instead, he seems to listen to the silence. I become frustrated with him, although I don’t interrupt the silence, not yet. The writer in me thinks that the imaginary me in the ninety-five year-old psychoanalyst’s office must be afraid of something. More words are spoken in the Manhattan consulting room. “For some reason I had to cross the country to tell a stranger that I’m afraid to be the conscious subject of my own life story. It’s not easy to be conscious of oneself, is it?” To write my own story is harder than I thought it would be.

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