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Bollas, C. (2013). Brief Account on Writing. Rivista Psicoanal., 59(4):913-914.

(2013). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 59(4):913-914

Scrivere la psicoanalisi

Brief Account on Writing

Christopher Bollas

I am asked, how do I write? There is no easy answer to this question as it could only ever be answered by one's unconscious and certainly it will not speak. However, if I accept the limits of my «I», and take this at face value, then I would say that within the realm of psychoanalysis I come to writing from two differing perspectives.

First, I should say that I never was a natural born writer and preferred to speak my mind rather than to write it out. In fact, as a PhD in english literature, I am somewhat shocking to my academic friends because I did not publish my first book until I was 44. Most of my colleagues publish in their twenties or by their middle thirties. When, in effect, I left the Academic world full time to become an analyst I had no urge to write with one exception.

I wrote in what I called my «Notebooks». This was on the advice of Masud Khan in the early 1970's who said I had ideas that were interesting enough and that I should write them down. I found a notebook sold in a London stationer's that I quite liked and began to jot down ideas that arrived in mind, usually from clinical work, or from an unknown source. I began in 1974 and now some 26 volumes later am slowly editing them for publication, something I never anticipated.

I would write in the notebooks in order to transform what I would now state was the unthought known into some form of thinking. Writing was a natural way as it gives greater freedom to unconscious thinking than does speaking as it is more private. One does not talk to the other, but to some intriguing imaginary companion (a notebook) that remains silent and receptive for an eternity.

I can give an example from last week.

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