Esther Imagines Herself as a Literary Character

The true depth and power of psychoanalysis is derived at

the point in your narrative where you touch the infinite,

which is silence. In moments of self-absorbed reflection in Dr.

Shengold’s office – in those moments where Esther touched the infinite –

she imagined herself as a literary character. In analysis Esther’s

joys, her passions, and her afflictions were portioned in fifty-minute

segments like the raptures of fictive beings whose lives were

divided into one-hundred word chapters. At times, in response to

Dr. Shengold’s reproving interventions, Esther envisaged herself as a figure

in a nineteenth-century novel, a villainess whose moral deficiencies invited scorn.


Paraphrase from the article “A Cellist’s Challenge: Playing Bach, Surrounded by Twisting Bodies” by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim.

Article by Bret Stephens’ wife:


Dr. Shengold as Portrait Artist

The achievement of the strenuously Freudian psychoanalyst Leonard Shengold was

not so much to break new ground as to dig

incessantly deeper into the old. By doing so he intensified

our understanding of Freud’s familiar psychological preoccupations to the point

of faint discomfort. Among Dr. Shengold’s passions were the individual

and his interior life, the patient-psychoanalyst relationship, the psyche

on the private stage that is the analyst’s office, the

arduous process of seeking and imaging interior existence. In Dr.

Shengold’s published case studies his patients became macabre, even scary

etchings in black and white: dense renderings of viscerous reality.


Paraphrases from the article “Lucien Freud Stripped Bare” by Roberta Smith.

Final Version — Therapy Summary August 28, 2017

I should send this letter to DC Superior Court!! They would be interested in the final section.

zzzzzsundaylibrary 9-10 therapy summary 8-28-2017

How would Jeffrey Masson deal with a patient like me? “Freedman, you need to get laid.”

Dr. Oberman said to me 40 years ago, “You need to find a girl who will give you a blow job.”

The Party Guest

Ben and Fiona kept up a constant round of parties

at their Tribeca loft.  Fiona’s particular friend was a client

of Ben’s, Philip R., then in his forties, a hulking,

highly successful novelist.  Fiona found him a “divine” party guest.

Despite his devoted marriage Philip had several well-established homosexual relationships,

which accounted for Fiona’s lasting non-flirtatious friendship with him.   Philip

summed up how friends saw the Shirazis in his novel

The Accountant, where the lead protagonists, modeled on Ben and

Fiona, “love each other desperately, passionately.  They cling to each

other like barnacles cling to rocks.” Fiona relished the attention.


From the biography Zelda Fitzgerald: Her Voice in Paradise by Sally Cline.

Tinkering — “like some latter-day Nick Carraway” — I am obsessed with linking up remote areas of experience

Nick Carraway is a friend of Jay Gatsby. Carraway idealizes Gatsby and attends the rich Gatsby’s lavish parties. Carraway is the narrator of The Great Gatsby; the first person I of the novel is Carraway’s voice. In fact, the following chapter in The Emerald Archive is a paraphrase of Carraway’s description of his friend, Gatsby.

I link up Nick Carraway-as-writer to the following chapter in The Emerald Archive about a writer attending one of Ben and Fiona Shirazi’s parties.

The ideal thing for a writer is when he has

written all day — with minor interruptions thrown in — but, like

some latter-day Nick Carraway, needs to head out to a

dinner party. He doesn’t want to lose his momentum, but

he’s also eager to meet friends at the dinner. Half-way

through dinner, though, he can’t wait to get back. Yes,

company is always fun, but how utterly fantastic to get

back before midnight, and pick up exactly where he left

off at seven. Something someone said that evening caught his

attention. He’ll use it in the novel he is writing.

Paraphrases from Goodreads Q&A with André Aciman.

I got the idea for this from the following splendid poem published in this week’s New Yorker Magazine. I really loved this poem:

Thank you, Stephen Dunn!


The Analytic Posture

Psychoanalysts believe that the things a patient tells his analyst at the first session have special meaning. These opening comments are like the overture of an opera that lay out the major themes to come.

In June 1978 I started seeing a psychiatrist/psychoanalyst named I. Jay Oberman, D.O. for once a week outpatient psychotherapy. The first session was a disaster. I had brought with me a xerox copy of the entry for Schizoid Personality Disorder from Dorland’s Medical Dictionary. The first thing I did after I sat down was to hand Dr. Oberman the sheet of paper. “Here,” I said, “I think I have schizoid personality disorder.” He blew up at me. Dr. Oberman used to have outbursts from time to time. (My sister was witness to one of them.) He chewed me out for advising him of my diagnosis by way of a sheet of paper instead of telling him my thoughts and feelings. He never forgot that incident and mentioned it from time to time in the ensuring months.

But on reflection, was my action in some way related to the following?

This is what I was talking about!!

Several months ago I prepared a brief profile of my personality problems.

Paragraph 5 states:

5. I have a high level of subjective psychological distress. I ruminate obsessively on my past.

The following article fits in here. I am in severe emotional pain. I should be borderline!!

“Emotional pain has been reported as an adaptive response to repetitive traumatic experiences in childhood.”