Germination of Our Remaking

“I’ve become increasingly preoccupied with the confluence of two ideas: first, that memory is a fiction, and second, that while narrativizing experience can be artful, it is also a necessary form of psychological maintenance. No one who has spent serious time trying to write fiction, poetry, or memoir can be too surprised at the benefits experienced by combat veterans and victims of abuse who take part in writing workshops specialized to address PTSD. These are places where real cognitive work is being done, work not dissimilar from talk therapy with a psychotherapist. Insisting that “memory is a fiction” does not discount the situations these people have faced, nor does it undermine the truths they have to offer. Rather, the confluence of these two big ideas remind us that the healthy compartmentalization of the psyche through the ordering of our personal experience parallels how we organize the structures of our stories, especially when shadows of ourselves appear in our texts as subject, object, or narrator. In both contexts, narrative recompartmentalization is not the issuance of a new self, but the wholesale renewal of self, the generation of a newborn identity, one that is paradoxically both as real and yet more real than its precursor, one that will, like it predecessor, also decay in the absence of self-analysis. This is why the space between trauma and recovery is so interesting to me. These times in our lives are often tortured, ugly and painful, but they are also—if we are not too unfortunate—fertile beds for the germination of our remaking.” -Benjamin Reed 

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