Possession

Reading Pedersen, Dark Hearts, notes from the chapter on the Oedipal Wound

Referencing Freud’s view that incest is a child’s “wish to possess sexually one parent or the other,” Pedersen states that this view of possession is too narrow.  When applied to men and their mothers,  it delayed understanding of their possessive urge.  Pedersen believes that incest should be thought of as a “symbolic regressive longing for what the mother represents.”

My mother did so many thing right. I mourn for the relationship that I perceive us once having. Not one of my peers was treated as well when sick. Whether it was a common cold or a pernicious flue, she waited upon me while I stayed in bed.

Lying there, I could set my life around the lower bookshelf adjacent to my pillow. My radio, my books, and my writings were at the ready. When they were not enough, I could recall the  toy soldiers  under my bed.

Having the soldiers so close to my border was one more privilege of illness. Normally, by her command they bunked in the closet across the room. Sick days were an exception.  A boy not feeling well could never be expected to walk across the room.

How Do You React to Darkness?

Stand outside In your backyard on a night of a new moon.  Preferably a cloudy night too, No stars, pitch black, dark

If artificial light disturbs the darkness go to your basement.  Decide on which place is the darkest and stand there for a while taking in the blankness of its attributes.

How does it feel? Absorb the feeling. Is it one of peace or fear? What is it? Why is it? Which have you defaulted to?

Rites of Passage or Rights of Passage?

A man that I visited in a nursing home had incurred two broken hips since I had last seen him. He is in his late eighties and apparently facing his remaining life in a room.

There is little about him that is downbeat. He is engaged. Not showing any sign of depression. His demeanor provoked me to look for weakness. Is he crazy, narcissistic, or just a good guy?

I find it easier to find fault than I do in praising him. He has undergone a rite of passage that I don’t think I ever will. I have come and gone into puberty, adulthood, middle age and now early old without any signs of evidence that I ever experience a passage of any sorts.  Other than time passing. I feel the same as yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

What I see in him as some kind of psychotic disturbance might be me looking dimly in a mirror. How have I jumped from sixteen to sixty-six without recognition? This man has been in the military and worn several other uniforms, many with badges. Occupations I would have spurned in my younger hours. I wanted recognition but never thought of it doing it the way he did.

Life for me has been more a passing than an entry. Until New Hampshire, moving from one town to another. It is what I see as intriguing about Lee Child’s fictional character Reacher.

Rather than hold to his military exploits, Reacher seems to wander into new realms. Where others might be insecure, he lives one day at a time and becomes prominent as a go to guy, a guy we might ask about life’s meaning. He is a wandering monk. A monastery is his likely next stop, not a nursing home.

One man real, and the other imagination, which one would I rather be?

Amina

Writing a memoir, especially one that includes exploration of the dark side of everything, including God, is hard work. It makes me want to go to analysis because I have begun to see much I haven’t see before. Stuff I didn’t even know existed. Amina is one.

Loren Pedersen writes, “the more in touch with the inner feminine a man is, the more comfortable he is likely to be with inner self-exploration. The anima, as a potential connection to his unconscious, may appear personified in his dreams and fantasies.”

When I picked up his book Dark Hearts, one that was leant to me, I had little interest. That was at the beginning of August. I am now the proud owner of the book and reading it at the fast clip of about two pages a day. No meat here. Hah!

My Column Today in The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

After you’ve confronted the dragon, comes the bliss

Annie Neugebauer graduated from the University of Texas in 2007. A favorite professor devastated her by asking why she hadn’t been in the honor’s program. A question posed even though she graduated with “highest university honors.” The professor thought she had taken the easy road and should have enrolled in honors courses. She had not done so because the regular course requirements fit her schedule. After much self-examination she concluded what she had done didn’t require someone else’s permission. She writes about her experience at annieneugebauer.com.

Having just experienced my own commencement in May, I resonated with Annie. During my 10 years of graduate school, I had two C’s. Both bothered me. The first one came about five years ago, and I justified it by thinking I asked for it. The course required memorizing. You might as well have told me to cut the lawn every day. It isn’t going to happen.

When I found out what the course demanded, I gave myself permission to just pass. Just passing for me is a C. Back in the day it is how I did all of school. Have fun, maybe show up for class, and get by. The new more mature Bob sought to graduate with the “highest university honors.”

I just missed. As others were called to receive their diploma “with honors” I cringed a bit. Then I remembered a question asked me by a friend when I told him about my C’s.

“Bob, what do they call a doctor who graduated last in their class?”

I thought about it, but had no answer.

Then he smiled and said, “A doctor.”

His words are how I got over the earlier C, but they didn’t get me by the more recent one. It was the grade given to me for a self-directed course. A course I designed to make up one and a half credits. I even picked the professor. Completing the curriculum demanded that I read four or five books and write a 15-page paper.

The professor gave me a C with the comment that my writing was not academic. He thought my writing sounded more like a sermon. I emailed him that I would like to talk about it. He acknowledged receipt of my email, said he would get back to me, but never did. The next time I saw him was at graduation.

After the diplomas were received, my class exited from the sanctuary. One by one we paraded past the professors. The last professor in the academic line was professor C, a man who has a perpetual smirk on his face. This day he looked particularly smirky. He said nothing, nor did I.

I left commencement with the issue of a C unresolved. It made the event less celebratory. It had me feeling fraudulent.

No matter that I spent 10 years in study and had a grade point average far exceeding C.

It did matter that I wanted this degree in part for self-esteem. Having not been an academic in undergraduate days, I wanted to prove I had the right stuff. For me this meant a report card unblemished by C’s. I wanted all my professors to think I was the greatest student ever.

It took just one professor to throw me off track. It didn’t matter that I didn’t want to be an academic writer. This was about confronting dragons. There should be a course on it.

Then again, I think there is. I took it.

Now its time to apply it to bliss.

Naps

Waking up from a nap, I tried to remember a time when I didn’t take naps. When I worked in business I took naps.

Mostly when I traveled. Flying United Airlines provided a fabulous time to take a nap. I didn’t need a long one, twenty minutes did it. It still does it.

Whatever life I have in the present always seems so normal. Life like its always been.

For example, I am confident I never lived without an iPad or iPhone. Well, that may change now.

I plan to get a Fire Phone from Amazon. It depends only on AT&T. The last time they were the “provider” they couldn’t provide coverage where we live.

Important now that we no longer have a land line. Did we ever?

I wonder if in ten years the younger crowd will any more know what a land line is than they will a group called The Supremes. You know them, right?