coyote moon, half high, half full
girl on the radio singing no one
could ever compare to you. middle
of the night, I'm out of cigarettes.
all day reading Alice Miller. not
reading really. what I do. tracking
two days ago I bought this first
edition. not that I collect the
things. not for their dates of
publication anyway. I got a coffee
and walked back to where I'd read
those first few pages a year and
and funny thing, it was a different
book. Prisoners of Childhood it was
called in 1981 when this all started,
just now noticing. that fits. nothing
else does. not really. not well. the
receipt I found in the other one says
01-27-02. sitting in this same spot
that day outside of starbucks on the
mall I said oh my god, this is me.
well of course it was. and everyone
else. what marketing genius.
back then I'd been thinking about
C. Wright Mills. about voice. about
anything but the moon. thinking that
he'd said the sociological imagination
flowered where biography intersected
but In the Drama of the Gifted Child,
Alice Miller says in those first few
pages, first paragraph in fact, that
biography is all that counts, and not
all that abstract intellectual stuff.
it's all we have, she says, to protect
us from mental illness. I'm quoting.
for the personal history of our
childhood defines, for each of us,
she says, our own truth. your truth
my truth his truth her truth.
and this truth, though different for
each, so different that it takes a
boatload of empathy to get it, is that
each of us was abused raped sodomized
beaten. left for dead. but nobody wants
to hear about your truth because of
this secret conspiracy of nasty old-boy
psychoanalysts to hush it all up, like
Freud with his drives and instincts.
Eros was bad enough, but how about
Thanatos, she says. and now how do you
like your blue eyed boy, Mr. Death?
but here's the weird thing. in the
first edition, she says I'm not going
to talk a lot about narcissism. then
does. at length. by that name. on and
on. however, by the new improved second
edition, the word doesn't appear at
all except in a brief retelling of
the story of Narcissus and Echo, which
just sort of sits there, disconnected.
split off and out of place.
she doesn't like Melanie Klein or
Kernberg she says, with their over harsh
views about darkness and pathology. she
does like Kohut, though, who deep sixed
all that nonsense about drives and said
no, instead it was all the self, evolving
naturally, coming to its own realization.
it's own truth, you could say.
but tell me something Alice, honey, where
does all that abusive aggression come from
then? when the true self blooms in the
gentle listening of someone as enlightened
as yourself (no other authors are cited),
is it all just perfect niceness after that?
and nobody anymore wants a piece of your
and tell me another thing before you go,
what happened to all those references to
narcissism, leaving us with our little
personal stories but no common history,
no imagination, except for an undriven
darkness that, in truth, does not exist?
and why no mention of solipsism, leaving
me with your truth, the revised expanded
second edition, and me with this coyote
moon, half high, half empty. girl on the