My lapstrake rowboat Pepito is twelve feet long (the name is carved on the transom). If I were much taller, I wouldn’t fit on the couch where I lie several times a week for fifty minutes (and I’m 5 feet 6 inches). I feel comfortable in the small boat, without a motor, which surprised me at first since I can remember, as a child, being afraid of the water. Pepito and I will be together in the water in a few days, when (unless something unforeseen happens, which of course happens every day) I’ll travel on bus and ferry and bicycle from Seattle to a small community in the San Juan Islands and then, after launching the boat, row from one island to another. It was probably twenty-four years ago when I first imagined myself free-associating in a psychoanalyst’s office (the spring of 1994 comes to mind, and one afternoon I emerged from a second-hand bookstore with what, except for Irvin Yalom’s Love’s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy, were my first two psychological books, one on Freud, the other on Jung). Pepito was built by students at a wooden boat building school near Port Townsend while I was living in Madrid. A dream was one of the reasons why I wanted a lapstrake skiff (another was that, as a child, I was fortunate enough to spend time at my grandparent’s cabin in a Norwegian fjord where lapstrake boats were common). Psychoanalysis was a dream to me for years – I never stopped reading about it; in fact, I read more and more as time passed – and then, two years ago, five years after moving back to Seattle from Spain, I realized that I wasn’t going to wait any longer.
An hour ago I had no idea what I was going to write about, although I sensed that something was awaiting me within. I’d written two pages of notes based on what I’d read in two books, which is unusual for me, and I assumed that the images, facts, and thoughts on those two pages would help me write a narrative. Maybe they have. My psychoanalyst and I don’t meet on Fridays, the day I’ll travel to our cabin, and I won’t have to work on that day either. Pepito was ten years old last month. The dream I had before the idea to have such a boat came to me took place in the water between the two islands where I will be rowing on Friday (if all goes according to plan, which rarely seems to happen). In the first image, I was driving a speedboat as fast as possible toward the nearest marina, while in the second and final image I was rowing in the same direction. I’m tired, and I have other work that I must finish before the end of the day. Most of what I’ve written here is based on what I consider to be facts. But I might be lying if I were to say that there is no fiction in these sentences. Perhaps I’ll reread them this weekend in the islands and find out.