Now That That’s Off My Chest

Synthetic fragments: unnatural elements (in my context of rumination: constructed events) juxtaposed without narrative considerations.

It’s Heiner Müller’s term for his post-modern drama. Reminiscent of Dada, I think. An unacknowledged return to Surrealist freedoms. And here I go again: back to our construction of reality. Realities. Our irresistible impulse to fill in the blanks. To justify whatever body-sense is triggered.

An irresistible impulse is actually a legal defense for a myriad of crimes. It’s not the same as an insanity plea, it’s the result of a narrative. Logical. Totally understandable.

I sit in the chair in my doctor’s office and work backward. This is how I feel: this is why. Before that: this. Sometimes I throw her off in time by conflating decades in a trail of thought: experiences lying on parallel, not linear, paths. Because that’s the truth, isn’t it? Not paths, really, just a pile of dried leaves.

Other times she’s not thrown. She’s not listening to the words. I know she tunes the sense of them out. She’s listening to tempo, to registers, to repetitions.

I might as well be dancing.

When the theater director Vsevolod Meyerhold moved away from realism, he put trampolines and slides on stage. He suspended narrow beams for actors to balance on.

Sometimes I wonder what I actually accomplish by talking in the shrink’s office. But gestalt therapy required too much physical trust and physical intrusion for my comfort. So I’ve gone back to sitting with my legs entwined, my hands folded in my lap, wondering if the doctor notices what my body is saying. If she’ll do more than ask: “Well, what do you want to do about this?”

Scientists today make headlines, explaining that sticking a pencil between your teeth to force a smile will provoke a genuine smile. They say it as though it’s a new thought. An invention of their own design.

Actors knew this first. Professional actors, amateurs, or those that embed themselves in our dinner parties, our living rooms, and our confessionals.

Part of me wants to say, yes – it is all invention. And everyone has to do it/discover it/experience it/utilize it on their own anyway, so who gets credit is a matter of history: a story that may or may not wander through a generation or two or more. This is a tool.

So is a circular saw. I know how to use one. In theory.

I have absolutely no idea what to do with it.

2 Replies to “Now That That’s Off My Chest”

  1. I actually said to my therapist on Wednesday that I wasn’t sure therapy was accomplishing anything. The next 50 minutes proved to me that even just the act of talking to a grown-up out of the circle lets me get stuff off my chest, or see new angles of approach to things that have been bugging me. On the other hand, I’m always a wreck coming into it, because the prospect of it in itself makes me overthink. So it remains a conundrum.

    I suppose the pencil sticking into mouth takes the pencil horizontally. I just tried it with a biro and it sort of worked. I think that’s a good thing 🙂


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