Writing Vacation (Part II) (Open Doors)

I heard a knock on the door. I’ve reread the sentence several times. The silence in the room reminds me that I’m alone. The knock exists in my head. This story exists in my head. For seconds or minutes, disorientation reigns. Am I lying on the couch alongside this table, which is my temporary writing space, or has the writing of these sentences led me into a less rational and more fluid state of mind, which for a writer is both good and necessary? As a writer, I can be in both places simultaneously, at the desk and on the couch, which for me on good days is the same mental place. A knock reminds me I’m not alone in my mind. This is fiction. In reality, I’m a few miles from my psychoanalyst’s office, in my own office, where I read and edit other people’s words, and where I write my own words, which on good days surprise me. Maybe I imagined that Mary, my psychoanalyst, knocked on some inner door in me. Earlier in this narrative, she knocked on the door and we spoke face to face, in my fictional writing home for a week. It was Monday, and I sensed I would need all five days to write enough so that I would feel as if I were on vacation. My narrator wrote in the second to last sentence of Part I that Mary and I decided to cross the street for a coffee and talk about writing and psychoanalysis. Such a conversation would likely never happen in reality, and for sure won’t happen while I remain her patient. Perhaps my narrator is on a writing vacation in the same physical space where I lie on a couch four times a week, and find myself free-associating when the process works well, because for me Mary’s office has come to symbolize creative mental work. Reality permits me to lie on the couch for two hundred minutes a week. Fiction allows me to spend as much time there as I wish. This way I hope to maximize the possibility both of doors opening in my mind and of my being able to listen well enough to know when it happens.

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