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Benveniste, D. (2006). The Melody Haunts My Reverie. Fort Da, 12(2):30-34.

(2006). Fort Da, 12(2):30-34

The Melody Haunts My Reverie

Daniel Benveniste, Ph.D.

In March of 1999, after living in San Francisco for 27 years, I was packing my bags and preparing to move to Venezuela. In those last weeks before my goodbye, a tune fell into my mournful reveries and I began to put words to it:

Hasta luego Fillmore Street,

You know I love you.

I love the deli and all that is there,

I love the bookstore and all that they share, etc, etc.

Corny, I admit, but in this way I sadly and sweetly sang under my breath my goodbyes to my friends, my patients, Alta Plaza Park, the vistas, the coffee shops, the familiar sidewalk, the street lights, the mail boxes, and all the rest. I love music but I am not one to create a melody, so I was rather pleased with this spontaneous composition. Three years later I saw a woman on a plane doing needlepoint and stitching the words “I'll be home for Christmas.” The melody of the Christmas classic came to me and suddenly I recognized it to be the same one I thought I had invented for the first nine words of “Hasta Luego Fillmore Street.” Meanwhile the singsong melody for “I love the deli, etc.,” eluded me, though it, too, sounded familiar. Then I became amused that my song about saying goodbye had been unconsciously grafted onto a familiar song about returning home. And then I recalled the final line of that song: “I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams(Kent & Gannon, 1943).

I have long recognized that when I awaken in the morning, there is often a song on my mind, which appears to be a preconscious commentary on my emotional situation. I say “preconscious” because it doesn't take much effort to pull it into consciousness and find a compelling interpretation ready and waiting. The same thing happens when infatuated with someone or when falling in love. The songs that occur to us during the day provide a mental soundtrack for our current state of affairs. I presume they stand somewhere between a dream and a fantasy in relation to ego control, which makes me wonder if any analysts or psychotherapists find themselves interpreting, through self-analysis, the songs that occur to them while seeing their patients. L.

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