Monday, January 15, 1990. I turned 36 the previous month. I telephoned Stanley R. Palombo, M.D., a psychiatrist, to make an appointment. Dr. Palombo was also a psychoanalyst. I had been referred to Dr. Palombo by Albert Rothenberg, M.D., an authority on creativity. Dr. Rothenberg had given me the names of two psychiatrists. I chose Dr. Palombo because I recognized his name from a book about creativity I had read by the British psychiatrist, Anthony Storr, Solitude: A Return to the Self. Storr had quoted a passage about dreaming from a book Dr. Palombo had written titled, Dreaming and Memory. I had an interest in dream analysis, so the chance to see a psychoanalyst who had expertise in that area attracted me. I was off from work that day; January 15 happened to be Martin Luther King’s birthday. I have a dream . . .
To paraphrase Freud, psychoanalysis must attend to not only the most significant things, but also the most indifferent and insignificant details. When I told Dr. Palombo my telephone number he said, “You live in this neighborhood.” The first three digits of our telephone numbers were the same. Dr. Palombo appeared to be a psychoanalyst who attended to details.