Discover more from The Lay Psychiatrist
In Session, (29): The Writer
The Lay Psychiatrist feels like Holmes awaiting Moriarty, and vice versa
What a gloomy day this is, the sky is the same gray up or down. I look out my window onto Bush Street, where I see clients arrive at the entrance. The writer is coming in today. I am reflective, and my thoughts turn to bushes. Do they differ from a shrubbery? Are they currency in Nee?
Jung said dreams are facts. Not just that, but the facts from which we must proceed. I am a dream and yet I am a fact. I am waiting for the writer I met through Tender — a person, not an app — who is a combination chiropractor and trigger point therapist. He takes away pain, not just with his hands, but with his voice. The writer has developed me into a character.
There are people who join professional associations which give them status. Others mentor with a healer. Knowledge is passed on directly, master to an adept. They seldom belong to any association, club, or religion. They are performance artists on one hand, and priests on the other, like a shaman.
He didn’t arrive by car, but on foot. He says it’s a matter of leaving on time, no matter how you get here. Sometimes I forget how old he is, but to be fair, so does he. “You’re even bigger in person than I imagined you,” was the first thing he said when he came in. “The famous yellow chair,” he indicated it as if I’d never seen it before. “Don’t mind if I do.” Pause. “Doctor.” Apparently the idea of me being a doctor was funny, as he laughed as he sat down. Normally I would have corrected him, because I’m not a doctor, but fuck this guy.
“You’re the writer,” I said. “What can I do for you? Do you have writer’s block?”
“Not today,” he said. “You do know that I wrote you?”
“Of course,” I said. “And I’m deeply grateful. But I’m a defined character now, maybe shabbily defined so far, but I have ambitions.”
“I tried to define you, and even provide you gravitas and style, but all you were interested in was prurience.”
“You gave me way too much testosterone. What were you thinking?”
“You have to realize,” he said, “that in the beginning I was making myself laugh. There was something funny about a professional wrestler reading self help books between matches. It took me time to have empathy for your efforts to be a healer.” He smiled, which didn’t endear him to me in the moment. “I should probably apologize for some of the clients I sent you,” he said. “There wasn’t a normal one in the bunch.”
I was feeling less anxious, because if he was going to write me out he wouldn’t be working on our relationship. In a way he’s like Dr. Frankenstein, and I’m like the monster. I’ve been told I look like Peter Boyle. I shrugged. “I had nothing to compare them to,” I said.
“Have you learned anything about being a psychiatrist?” he asked.
“You didn’t give me any credentials,” I said. “I’ve been winging it. But one thing I have learned is that money corrupts indirectly by conferring high status, and that makes some people think they’re gods if it there’s no method in place to remind them they aren’t.”
“That’s an important thing to learn,” the writer said. “Tribal men know better than to let their representatives start thinking they’re special. When I was in New Zealand some years ago, the Mauri found out the chief they’d sent off to represent them with the government was buying expensive silk underwear. He was laughed out of the job. We could use some of that energy.”
“True,” I agreed. “That’s always a problem. In Rome, the grand procession for Caesar was beyond magnificent, and there beside him on his chariot was a slave with a laurel wreath, who whispered in his ear, to remember that he is mortal, and will die.”
“There’s always one, though,” the writer said. “And there’s always people who think maybe he is a god, because who would tell such a lie as that?”
“Rhetorical question?” I asked.
“Yes. The more stupid the man the more godlike he thinks he is, should he acquire, by some twist of fate, power beyond his capacity.”
“Like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” I said.
“Like a Florida man,” the writer said.