Emotional Reading

Perhaps I still want the life I could have had. I could have written about this. Then a wall appeared in my mind between pen and paper and the next sentence I would have written. There are reading lives awaiting me that I’m afraid to live. Experience inserts itself in this sentence, both the word and the experience of experience. Change has appeared in this sentence. A thought come to mind: Experience and change are related to your reading in more ways than you have imagined, which is one reason why you should keep a journal, to record the aliveness of your reading experiences. I have been reading a book while I’ve been drinking coffee and writing these sentences. Another sentence surprises me: This book knows you better than you think. We’ve known each other since 2004. But I was afraid of intimacy, and I might still be. I was living in Madrid, reading mostly in Spanish, and when I came across a few of this British psychoanalyst’s books in Spanish translation, I bought them without thinking that I might also read them one day in the original English. For several years I struggled with these volumes, not with understanding the sentences in Spanish, but with understanding them in relation to my own emotional experiences. I had never experienced a session of psychoanalysis, and I thought I never would. Yet this psychoanalytic author and his books remained important to me. Now, years later, I am in psychoanalysis, and one of the only facts I know about my psychoanalyst is that she trained at an institute where the writings of this thinker, Wilfred Bion, are taught. I should have prepared myself stronger coffee. I’m reading him now, in English. I’m growing as a reader, which experience has taught me will make me a better human being.

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Future in the Fire

I woke up this morning feeling closer to death than I did last night.

Out of all the sentences I have ever written, the one above seems the most alive.

A glance at my bookshelves confirms that this room hasn’t changed since I went to bed last night. All of the books, softcovers and hardcovers, will be here after my final breath.

“How many more years will we have together?” I ask the books aloud.

An inner voice responds: “I’m right here in front of you! Focus on me!” My eyes return to the desk, to my dream journal. I don’t have to open it to know that last night’s dream has been recorded inside.

When did I write it down? None of the dream’s images come to mind. Moments later, with a new sentence, they do.

A plant is on fire in front of me. Maybe it’s a single leaf. Fear makes my own motion an image for another dream. Motionless, I marvel at the growing flames.

There’s no caffeine in my system yet, and I can’t remember the last time I felt so alive. The following sentence comes to me as if it were a figure emerging from the darkness: My future is in the fire.