I’m a bit travel-addled, not sleeping well. Last night, I finally drifted into wispy sleep, but then woke myself from a dream that my son had missed his bus and was running out into a busy street to catch up to it. He was waving his arms and yelling please. His sobbing jolted me awake, heart racing.
I drifted off again. Then woke with the image of an apple, sliced but then re-assembled, held together with a rubber band around its middle. Benign, perhaps, but in the dream state, there is something sullied and deceitful to it.
I am thinking about daily practice. For the month, I’ve put aside one project and returned to another. There are many reasons it makes sense to change focus for a time, but there’s also a cost to the switching. Upon my return to it, the question looms: Is it even in the right form? I know well enough that the only way to know is to wade around in the muck of it for a while, so for now, I’m resigned to my discomfort. For various uninteresting reasons, I’ve resisted thinking deeply and seriously about genre distinctions, but at some point, decisions must be made.
I’ve finally read the short chapter in which Freud discusses “repetition compulsion.” I’d read of it, but not the text itself. He writes:
“There is one special class of experiences of the utmost importance for which no memory can as a rule be recovered. These are experiences which occurred in very early childhood and were not understood at the time but which were subsequently understood and interpreted.”
Instead of remembering, we enact. Rather than articulate the fears, doubts, and helplessness of those experiences (because we are unable), we enact them: “He reproduces it not as a memory but as an action; he repeats it, without, of course, knowing that he is repeating.”
For Freud, of course, one way to acquire knowledge is through dreams. A tricky proposition, to be sure. Perhaps I am my son, crying out for some lost thing. Perhaps I am being deceived. Or am I the bus driver, moving on, indifferent? Or the apple, forever broken, but appearing, for the moment, whole?