Art of Interruptions without End

In her dream she was writing on a new manual typewriter. She said she was surprised that the words appeared on the page without interruption. I was curious what she might’ve meant by that, and I wondered whether or not I should say anything so early in the session. She hadn’t finished recounting the dream, or had she? Was she speaking about the dream or reality? The two were related to each other in my mind, and I imagined this was also the case in her mind at the moment. There were advantages to her lying on the couch with me seated behind her. This arrangement was new to both of us. I imagined a manual typewriter on my lap. I was experiencing mental interruptions, which was part of the job of listening to another. She was my first patient on the psychoanalytic couch. I was training to become a psychoanalyst, and she and I had agreed that she would lie on the couch and try to say what came to mind four times a week. Both of us were silent. Maybe I should’ve spoken moments ago. As though she could read my thoughts, Mary said that she was confused and couldn’t remember the rest of the dream. “I was writing on this manual typewriter, which I’d just returned home with from the store, and I was amazed that I typed so well, without any problems. I wonder why the end of the dream has disappeared, or maybe I just need to wait for it to reappear.” In my own mind, things were appearing and disappearing. Seated behind the couch, without having Mary’s eyes on me, I felt somehow freer than I did seated across from a client to listen imaginatively, both to her and to myself as I listened to her words. I heard her voice, in reality: “I remember the ending of the dream. I read the words of what I felt would be the final sentence after I finished typing them, and I wondered what they meant: writing is an art of imagining interruptions without end.” I glanced at the clock beyond the couch and realized that our time was up.

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