From time to time I loose a book on my shelves. I have quite a few books but not so many for how often I have the experience. It's happened twice in the last few weeks. First I couldn't find Fun Home, which I noticed because I am reading Are You My Mother and wanted to refer to it. Turns out I lent it out. Something I really almost never do. And then The Drama of the Gifted Child. I wasn't totally sure I had a copy but I had a memory of it on a specific shelf. I looked at that shelf twenty or thirty times before I found it today. A.B. mentions it in her book and, again, I wanted to refer to it.
I'm really enjoying Are You My Mother? and think it's interesting that I'm reading it right after having finished Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?. Both books are about problematic mother/daughter relationships and so soon after I spent three months cooking in my own problematic mother/daughter relationship. Oddly enough I'm also watching the third season of In Treatment in which Drama of the Gifted Child was briefly mentioned.
A.B. embeds writings from Winnicott throughout her book. It's been a long time since I've read any kind of self analysis or psychological writing and now I'm swimming in it. And it's all useful. I don't think it's that hard to figure out psychological patterns. I think it's extremely hard to both parse and integrate what you learn. I think it's a cyclical process. The ideas from both Drama and Winnicott made sense to me the first and second and third time I read them but reading them now, in the middle of a comic, is sort of rocking my world. It's been comforting. It's been an affirmation of a kind of normalcy to my specific insanity.
This is not to say that I think understanding why you might be who you are is an end, or even a beginning. It's an endless process. I think it is liberating, or it can be but I also think it can be a trap. I often hear people explaining their behavior with a story from their past. And I do the same thing. I have often wondered if there is any value in understanding. Understanding can be passive. As a result of these books and to some extent watching In Treatment I am thinking in psychoanalytic terms.
My mother had her gallbladder removed shortly after I was born. Her mother came to help take care of me. My dad moved out at some point. Mom found out he'd been having an affair. We moved in with Granmom. All of this in the first three months of my life. If you've read Winnicott you can begin the diagnosis.
A.B. mentions Winterson in a blog post.
I want to return to Jeanette Winterson for a moment. In some interview I read with her recently, she said that she feels ill if she can’t read every day. And I would say that I start to feel a little ill, or at least hollow and insubstantial, if I can’t write every day—at least a very minimal diary entry or blog post about what I’ve been doing. And I haven’t been able to do that in many weeks now.
Wow. These women. I love these women.
My big goal for the day was to mop the kitchen floor. It's been my goal for more than a few days in a row but this morning I overfilled my compression pot and coffee spurted out as I lowed the plunger scalding my hand and making the floor look much worse. So, after much avoidance I finally pulled out the Swiffer. I was slow to buy a Swiffer because they are not environmentally sound. They are efficient and I am less able to do ... pretty much every thing. Efficiency makes things possible. I hit the button and nothing. I remembered that there were batteries but I couldn't remember exactly where. After much consternation (they fell on the floor twice) I figured it out. I managed to get it all done but I think the floor still needs work. The Swiffer cleaning stuff stinks. As an added bonus I dusted the table with Pledge. Also stinky. A lot to go through and now I end up with an apartment that smells like bad cleaning products.
The whole time I was thinking about my reading and this post was peculating. I have another post that I've been rewriting for several weeks. I suspect I'll delete it. I reads hollow and insubstantial.
A.B. also embeds Virginia Wolfe in the book.
What a disgraceful lapse! Nothing added to my disquisition, and life allowed to waste like a tap left running. Eleven days unrecorded.
How it would interest me if this diary was to become a real diary: something in which I could see changes, trace moods developing: but then I should have to speak of the soul, and did not banish the soul when I began. What happens is, as usual, that I'm going to write about the soul and life breaks in.
I am always frustrated by how hard it seems to be to write now. Was it easier? Was I less self conscious?
Many days unrecorded. It isn't the number of days so much that bothers me. It's the dull witted soporific state of not being.
I found my book.