Absent in the Present Tense

This is unusual for me to observe my own mind. I’ve been reading some of my recent sentences. And I’ve reread them. This opening sentence, the one I wrote above, surprises me. I didn’t think it was unusual for me to observe my own mind. Yet what I’m doing here feels new. Before the word surprise found its way into a sentence, I had a somewhat clear idea of what I would write next. As I reread my own sentences, I identified a few themes that I imagined I’d written about unconsciously. Did I identify them, or did I do something else? Maybe what I did was before thought. Thought remained in the future. I noticed that the first and final sentences of the paragraph I was rereading were connected in a chronological way. In the opening sentence, I was anxious about what might happen during a particular experience, which started to take place in the last sentence of the paragraph. I remembered how I felt before my initial face-to-face meeting with a psychoanalyst last summer, and I imagined an anxious me that couldn’t think about the upcoming conversation. This was the opening sentence of the paragraph that I’ve been rereading during the last hour. Then, twenty-three sentences later, I was inside her office, anxious and confused. I’ve just reread these sentences, the ones I’ve written in the last hour, and I’m no longer surprised that I wrote it is unusual for me to observe my own mind. The sentences I wrote were about someone, a fictional me, who struggled both to imagine and think. A few of the sentences were in present tense, in which the writer wrote about the experience of writing the words, and the rest were in past tense, and dealt with what the writer or narrator remembered. It was as if writing in the present tense overwhelmed me. I almost wrote, overwhelms me, in the present tense.


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