Dancing with My Analyst: Lessons Learned on a Velvet Couch
In case you haven’t caught on yet, pretty much everything I write is “my analyst’s fault” one way or the other. I spent four years scribbling down all kinds of things he said then looking them up, writing letters to him, and writing whatever it took to remain reasonably sane in the face of all his blasted regression in the service of the ego.
He may say he only gets 10% credit for my work, but he gets full credit for this title:
One day early on, I got a bee in my bonnet regarding the tango. I spent an entire weekend watching YouTube clips and looking things up. I showed up to my next session expecting to talk about it and probably having to explain things to him. (He can’t possibly be as dense as he does. I think sometimes he plays Absent Minded Professor to see if I really know what I’m talking about.)
So I walk in, lie down, and say, “Daniel, do you know how to do the tango?”
Just like that – yes. No hedging, no playing dumb, just flat out yes.
No more than a few weeks after that, he asked me “when” I intended to publish. When? I’d written half a dozen letters, a few goofy haiku, and some fiction that, to this day, just plain stinks. (This was long before writing Ashes let alone considering an entry to a competition, heaven forbid winning anything.)
But there are questions that, then posed by an analyst, just plain stick. I didn’t intend to ever write a “memoir” but I needed a clever title, so I came up with “Dancing with My Analyst: Lessons Learned on a Velvet Couch.” Pretty clever, no? But now come the fun part…
Four years of material, cyber-stored, and my hard drive decided to die in the middle somewhere, but not before I rescued everything onto my external hard drive. Then came the real fun: Duplicate Files ad museum. I learned pretty to do a search for “backup” and delete everything with that title. Then I started trying to make sense of where to put everything.
Commercial Break: Go buy What’s in Your Chart, Doc? Click here and read the shortie chapter, “Subtitles from the Edge.”
I finally fell back on Freud and his classic stages of development and began sorting material into “age range categories.” Never mind chronologically when I wrote the material, but how it fit into the memoir-esque story line.
Keeping to the dance metaphor, I have cutesy section titles like Miserable Middle School Mambo and Paso Doble with Death (remember cancer and paternal suicide? not to mention that basilar artery infarction that killed my husband). I’d concocted a sweet little pre-raging-erotic-transference section called Learning the Box Step on Dr. Daniel’s Toes. But like anything else in life, the more we do it, the better we get at it.
There’s an adorable little story as to where the root file of this cover came from, but as the good little literary tease I’m learning to be, I’ll save that for another time. I will leave you with some sub-section title teasers that, yes, as every good memoir is, are based on Real Life Facts. (And I really did get called into the principal’s office for “coloring chickens” – if Daniel can manage to non-hypnotically drag the complete experience out of me, I’ll share it in a heartbeat.)
- Tapioca, Bunny Ears and Dance
- Strawberry Brownie Points
- In Trouble for Coloring Chickens
- 13 Ghosts and King of the Road
and the oh my god final piece (which leads to Psychic Abortion and the Cinderella Effect)
- Jack and Jill