Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Playing at Writing a Novel

A timely coincidence: Fadi Abou-Rihan, of The Psychoanalytic Field has recently posted the first of a series he plans to write on Winnicott and Play.

(D.W. Winnicott, 1896-71)

Two relevant quotes from Winnicott:
"It is in the space between inner and outer world, which is also the space between people--the transitional space--that intimate relationships and creativity occur." (from "Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena," 1951)

"The place where cultural experience is located is in the potential space between the individual and the environment (originally the object). The same can be said of playing. Cultural experience begins with creative living first manifested as play." (from "Playing: Its Theoretical Status in the Clinical Situation," 1971)
Many good links on that last cited page--on creativity and play.

I find the idea of the "found" transitional object, which shares and (if I'm following this) mediates between subject and external reality, one that resonates with my experience of writing--something I'm most keenly aware of when I'm struggling to "find" my way--as I have been for many weeks on my current novel. Success always feels like discovery--but of something that was both already present, and in a sense, known--and yet truly found, as something that did not exist before, as though the discovery, the finding, is what brought it into existence. But how is it possible to bring into existence what already was there in the external world? Again, if I understand this--there is a coming together of the three aspects, and in writing then, what is found, what is new, would be the delimiting form, the new limits set by narrative, dialog, description, argument--as they are realized--literally--in the precise sense of the word, in the work as it takes shape on the page.

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

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