A short self-analysis of my relationship to writing


At first, my writing was in service of the id. That is to say I blurted things onto paper for the instant gratification of making an utterance. It was in pure service of the pleasure principle that I wrote. Having loved language so long, the comfort of deploying it, however obscure the purpose was infant self-comfort.

As an adult it became a fetish; some scrap to stand for something more substantial. It was nonetheless beloved. Nonetheless precious in what it was pale substitute for. The cloth mother of a monkey still stands utterly for the true love object it denotes.

As such it provided the same comfort I received as a child from long hours of satisfying imaginative play alone – I was building worlds in which to test out the capricious and confusing real one free from irrevocable consequence. In this adult enjoyment of a child’s securities I experienced a shame. It seemed regressive somehow.

The admission of my ambition to write more seriously and to develop the skills needed to construct more conventional narratives comprises something of a killing of the father: that is to say a beating back of the superego’s excesses.
Yes the desire to sit at the centre of an imaginary world, doling out birth and death is egotistical. Yes the need to be a god who makes and destroys is narcissistic. But there is such a thing as healthy narcissism. The traditional self-loathing, self-regarding traits of the pure narcissist end in the unattainable pursuit of deserved plaudits so effusive and extreme that they will never come. It invites what it perceives as the deserved opprobrium – this too is equally unlikely to arrive. It believes it must be punished then decries a lack of recognition for its brilliance.

The pursuit of writing is not that. It is that finely balanced healthy narcissism which loves the self sufficiently to permit it to pursue its desires but equally chastises the self to effort, rightly criticising the lax and lazy, soliciting betterment and encouraging achievement. It allows satisfaction when enough has been done.

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