Twelve Drops of Rain

“It sounds as if you had a twelve-minute psychic bike ride.”

The sentence wasn’t part of a dream. Or maybe it was. I couldn’t see the woman as she spoke these words. There wasn’t much furniture in this fourteenth floor office in downtown Seattle. The couch was always the first thing I saw as I entered and left my jacket on the chair just beyond it. I often imagined standing before the bookshelves that covered one wall. In reality, there wasn’t time.

My use of the word reality reminds me that I uttered it on the couch this morning. I think my words were: “I know that the phone conversation I had last night was real, but it didn’t feel as if it were.” It was cloudy outside. Perhaps it would be raining when I left the building some forty minutes later. Rain brought to mind last night’s dream, in which I’m walking on a downtown sidewalk during a rainstorm without an umbrella. This dream image felt important, yet time wouldn’t allow me to talk about two things at once. Time itself seemed on my mind. Space was also occupying mental room. I couldn’t picture the space I would need for a psychic bike ride.

“You’re referring to my phone call, aren’t you? A friend called and I made the mistake of telling him what I was writing about, about biking on a road in my mind, feeling lost. Somehow I knew that I had only twelve minutes to find an exit.”

I glanced at the clock on the windowsill beyond the couch. Twelve minutes remained, not eleven or thirteen. It was raining outside. I used to ride my bike a lot in the rain. How many decades ago was that? My friend remained silent after I said that I was writing about biking in my mind. The psychoanalyst seated behind the couch also remained silent after I asked her my question, until she spoke. “There’s a lot here to think about. And you’ve imagined all of it now?” I have imagined all of this at my desk. Is my imagination done with me for today? I’ll have time to talk about it tomorrow on the couch.


16 thoughts on “Twelve Drops of Rain

  1. My intuitive reaction to this post is to examine my definition of “reality.” Of the reality of dreams, fantasies, speech, the relationships between inner and outer life. I’ve lately been reflecting on the “reality” of that which I imagine and how it relates to intuitive forms of knowing. This post has given me much food for thought. Thank you.

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  2. Thank you for your sharing your intuitive thoughts. I started writing a response, and then I wondered about my use of the word fantasy near the end of this vignette. As if for the first time, I have asked myself what is the difference between imagining and fantasizing something? I had thought that imaginative thought was at some “higher” level of mental functioning than fantasies. But what would that mean? How can creative activity be judged in such a way? Your comment has given me much to think about. Your recent reflections encourage me to keep on fantasizing and imagining. Thank you!

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    1. I, too, make a distinction between fantasy and imagination. In my mind, “fantasy” seems like more of a passive activity, or a “lower” form of imagination, just as you say. But is that true? And even if fantasy is somewhat passive, is it any less significant? Thank you for the thoughtful response.

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      1. Your comment reminds me of a chapterJung wrote in his book Symbols of Transformation, entitled “Two Kinds of Thinking,” in which he compared what he called directed and non-directed thinking (and he refers to fantasy as a non-directed thought form). He seems to say that unconscious fantasy thinking (there are also of course conscious fantasies) is connected to deeper unconscious parts of the mind. Thanks for helping me think about this.

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      2. I have taken out the word “fantasy” in the penultimate sentence of the vignette and replaced it with “my imagination.” And now I must think through why one word fits better in that sentence than another. Thank you again for your comments.

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      3. Of course. And now you’ve got me researching “Symbols of Transformation.” I am thinking of referring to some of the insights I gained from this conversation in my next post, probably tomorrow. I hope that is alright. Thank you.

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      4. Symbols of Transformation is Volume 5 of Jung’s Collected Works. He originally wrote it in 1912, before his break with Freud, while he was immersing himself in the study of symbols, and then he rewrote the book in, I believe, 1952. I look forward to your next post, and our conversation has got me thinking about fantasy from a Lacanian psychoanalytic perspective. So thank you!

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      5. Thank you, and I appreciate the conversation also. I was introduced to Lacan in a course on literary/critical theory, and, truth be told, all I remember was not wanting to utilize his ideas for that purpose. I find myself wanting to marry imagination/fantasy as a form of wishing/willing and intuitive living (what my next post will be about, as Jung describes it in the Terry Lectures). I’m going to have to dig through the archives today, but I think I remember Rollo May talking about just this kind of thing.

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      6. Your next post sounds very interesting! I have been struggling with Lacan for years, and I like your approach of wanting to join imagination and fantasy in the way you mention. It sounds very based in the experience of living, which is how we all live life. Your passion for your own writing work inspires me!

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      7. Thank you! And both your writing and your dedication to the pursuit of inner knowledge inspires me. When I read your posts, I often feel as if I am looking at a series of wonderfully creative illustrations of the concepts I read about and grapple with myself. Of a mind coming to terms with itself. Thank you for all of the insights!

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  3. Love the title! I know it’s not the point, but I can’t help but notice there are a lot of numbers in this vignette. Random thought, I know. But, I also can’t help but wonder is it on purpose, maybe not random? Your writing always seems to have a meaning behind the meaning. It makes me think!

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    1. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. I was wondering the same thing as I wrote this vignette. I think there is much truth in Freud’s conception of overdetermination, in that one occurrence, such as the appearance of lots of numbers in this piece, might have multiple unconscious causes. Thank you for your comment!

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