A letter to Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler, June 21, 2011
1. The heart
The first page of Chapter 2 in your book, Mourning, Spirituality and Psychic Change, reveals why I am drawn to your writing, Susan. “Where is the heart in psychoanalysis?” you wrote.
Heart, yes, that is what is important to me — to know my own heart, to express it, to connect with the heart of others.
Freud was of the head; analysis is a process is of the head.
I am more interested in synthesis for the future, rather than analysis of the past. I seek synthesis of the pieces of the heart and soul, connecting them into a whole, creating something new.
I seek being in the flow and experiencing life, not just reaching intellectual understanding.
Your interest in the heart pervades your writing and resonates with me.
(Here is a photo of my mind-mapping notes made a few years ago, exploring analysis vs. synthesis. It’s on a whiteboard in my home study.)
My review, Mourning Becomes Electric, of the book.
2. Emily Dickinson
Dickinson’s poetry — a favorite of mine. A substitute teacher in fifth grade taught us Emily Dickinson poetry. She said that Dickinson “became a hermit because something very personal happened to her.”
Since I’m eleven years old I’m wondering what happened to Dickinson, why she isolated herself. What is too personal that a teacher would not educate the class? Maybe she was making it up, and didn’t know herself?
Susan, starting with your book, The Compulsion to Create: Women Writers and Their Demon Lovers, you explain Dickinson’s psychological and spiritual development and arrest, and how it informed her life and work. Thank you, Susan, for solving the mystery of Dickinson for me.
Hope you are well and dancing tango into the night,