(I am afraid I am not writing these fragments of my book, Writers in a Mind, in chronological order. Thanks for reading).
I imagined I was at my desk translating a text, a significant and difficult one, from Spanish into English. In reality, I was standing in a bookstore, between Fiction and Psychology. An uninvited thought came to me: they’re lucky I’m here. Who was lucky and why? Lucky brought last night’s reading to mind. I had struggled to understand a single sentence of Lacan. I was unable to translate what he’d written in this particular essay (was that the right word?) about speech and language into concepts I could grasp. Another uninvited thought took the form of a response: That’s your problem. Don’t try so hard to understand things. Experience them instead. Understanding comes afterwards. Both people and words surrounded me, people on the outside, words on the inside. Lacan had arrived in my life by chance. I counted how many years ago: eighteen. Until now, we had had a superficial relationship. I started moving toward Psychology, as if I were to look for the French psychoanalyst on a shelf. Someone called my name. Many years ago the writer within called out to me, and I responded. The voice and her words came from behind me. I knew her voice. I heard another name, House of Words, which moments later she told me was the title of a book she’d never written. Words seemed to be doing strange things in my mind. Maybe she said that we were standing in the House of Words, which was true. NonStop Books was more than a bookstore. “You work here, don’t you?” The speaker of these words, who now faced me, was important. She must be tired. Laura had spoken to everyone seated and standing about Everything, the title of her novel. Without thinking, I translated this word into Spanish. Wasn’t all of this translation of subjective experience, images and bodily sensations, into words and thoughts? Would Lacan be interested in this question? Laura and I spoke, and as we did, the thought came to me: value all of the words that come to mind. Each one is a mysterious gift.