Writers know that most of us don’t come to the page with a full-fledged idea; we come with a scrap and we write out from that scrap into the rest of the story. Likewise most of us don’t come to therapy knowing exactly what’s wrong; we come with the knowledge that something is wrong and we have to talk our way through it.
Sometimes you just need to babble on, tell the story out loud, wait for the counselor who’s listening to catch where our voice cracks, watching to notice when our fists clench or our eyes well up with tears.
You might occasionally worry in counseling — are you even making sense? Does this even matter? If you trust your therapist, you can trust that she will let you know if things get off track; she’ll redirect you if you go too far off the rails. Otherwise, let yourself talk. It may not sound like you’ve figured out your narrative thread but we know — the counselor knows — that sometimes you have to talk your way through to understand the story.
Today I’m thinking about Grace Paley. Why should you love her? How can you not?
From here: “Whatever your calling is, whether it’s as a plumber or an artist, you have to make sure there’s a little more justice in the world when you leave it than when you found it.”
And from that same interview: “One of the things is — I’ve never really said this — but one of the things that has interested me is that women have bought books by men since forever, and they began to realize that it was not about them, right? But they continue, with great interest, because it’s like reading about another country. Now, men have never returned the courtesy.”
And not only is she a feminist, a “combative pacifist and cooperative anarchist”, and a mother (not to mention grandmother), she’s also one heck of a writer. If you haven’t discovered her yet, pick up one of her books (fiction, nonfiction or poetry) because you’re in for a treat. I’m going to go grab The Little Disturbances of Man off my bookshelf as soon as I hit save here.