Feeling Sick

I feel sick––like, physically unwell, although I’m also rather sure that I’m making this up in order to avoid certain writing projects that seem daunting right now.  I keep moving from room to room to see if the change of environment will make me feel better––Nabokov called this a fallacy, and so far my anecdotal evidence tells me he was correct.  I wish there was a large, clean, well-lit library around here that was open 24/7 so I could assure myself that I could stay up all night working, but alas, there are only bars.

In the meantime, I’m thinking of putting myself into the kind of treatment Paul Hammers’ mother does in Bullett Park.

“I went into my room to unpack.  The plaster wall was thin and I could hear my mother talking through the partition.  At first I thought someone had joined her after I’d left but then I could tell by the level of her voice that she was talking to herself.  I could hear her clearly.  ‘My father was a common quarry worker, often unemployed.  I had read somewhere that the trajectory of a person’s career could be plotted from their beginnings and given such humble beginnings I thought that I accepted them I would end up as a waitress in a diner or at best a small-town librarian.  I kept trying to tamper with my origins so that I would have more latitude for a career.  Having been raised in a small town I was terrified of being confined to one…’

I went down the hall and opened her door.  She had taken off her shoes and was lying on her bed, fully dressed, talking to the ceiling or the air.

‘What are you doing, Mother?’

‘Oh, I’m analyzing myself,’ she said cheerfully.  ‘I thought I might benefit from psychoanalysis.  I went to a doctor in the village.  He charged a hundred schillings an hour.  I simply couldn’t afford this and when I said so he suggested that I get rid of my car and cut down on my meals.  Imagine.  Then I decided to analyze myself.  Now, three times a week, I lie down on my bed and talk to myself for an hour.  I’m very frank.  I don’t spare myself any unpleasantness.  The therapy seems to be quite effective and, of course, it doesn’t cost me a cent.  I still have three quarter of an hour to go and if you don’t mind leaving me alone…’  I went out and closed the door but I stood in the hall long enough to hear her say: ‘When I sleep flat on my back my dreams are very linear, composed and seemly.  I often dream, on my back, of a Palladian villa.  I mean an English house built along the lines of Palladio.  When I sleep in a prenatal position my dreams are orotund, unsavory and sometimes erotic.  When I sleep on my abdomen…'”

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