Friday, November 22, 2013

Psychoanalytic and other Mumbo Jumbo

Like my big word? I feel smart just by typing it out. Anyway, I am taking a critical theory class this semester. It is one of those required for English majors. In the class we look at different methods to critique texts (not what we do with our thumbs but a term for almost anything written). Psychoanalytic criticism (or as I call it, a bunch of wackadoodle mumbo jumbo) was the first theory we looked into. This method is based off of the philosophies of Sigmund Freud. If you like Freud, good for you, (I hope it doesn't screw up your relationships) I personally am not a fan. 

Anyway, one thing I did find interesting was the idea that authors deal with their "issues" subconsciously through their writing. My first reaction was a bit of... yeah, yeah, whatever... move on to something less crazy already. Then, I started thinking about my own manuscript. That's when I started to squirm a little bit. Yikes! I totally do this. Freud has something on me after all gosh darn-it! (if you don't tell I won't).

So, to help explain I will take you to my current novel. My protagonist's mother dies right off the bat. there are definitely some issues there between the 15 year-old Lan and her mother. It isn't until years (or the sequel) later that she fully understands her mother's worth. (I know, I know. Freud would have a field-day here).

Over the last year or so, my mom has been slipping away rather quickly. I have been doing a lot of reflecting, who wouldn't? I worry, worry, and worry some more, that I haven't valued the time I had with her over my lifetime. Does she know I love her? I know I didn't show it when I was Lan's age, but did I show it when I was an adult and could fully appreciate all she did for me as my mother, my protector, my champion? She was not perfect, but with 11, yes ELEVEN kids, what she accomplished with us took some serious superwoman, out of this world, strength. Of all of the blessing God has bestowed upon this girl, my mom is among the top. 

So, I guess what I am saying, though I know she will never read this due to her diminishing eye sight and memory, is that I love you mom. All of the good qualities that are inside of me, all of those things that you have constantly pointed out for me to see... telling me how wonderful I am, are there because you have instilled them. 

That, and Freud may have won this round, but don't expect a repeat. 

- Jen


  1. Didn't Freud believe everything we do had to do with sex? If he thought writers wove their childhood miseries into their stories, then I agree. I know I have. One tip I heard years ago when I first started writing is: Write what you know.

    1. Yep he was a bit obsessed. Kinda creepy. But, he did have a point about us working through things subconsciously.