Like the criminal justice system in TV’s “Law and Order,” New Directions is composed of two separate – though not always separate — yet equally important groups: the psychoanalysts, who are interested in writing; and the writers, who are also interested in writing — about the psychoanalysts, though not really. In any case, really, “these are their stories.”
Both groups make up the participants, instructors, group leaders and weekend presenters of the New Directions in Psychoanalytic Writing program. And both groups have done impressive writing during the course of their years with New Directions – which in the end, whatever group they come from, makes them all writers. (As for differences, when the 2012 winter weekend topic “Writer’s Block” was first proposed, one analyst said: “Writer’s Block, that’s just resistance.” Whatever it is and whatever their long-term goals of self- exploration, understanding and/or publication, most writers need writing strategies to overcome blocks.)
While the last issue’s editor was a psychoanalyst, I’m a writer and so have felt daunted – i.e. waking up panicked in the night — at the prospect of working with pieces of writing from esteemed members of the psychoanalytic profession with their advanced degrees and years of not just working but thinking at great depth.
Thankfully, I have had the help of the New Directions leaders in selecting the best writing from the first two weekends of the 2011-2012 year, as well as that of the previous Journal’s editor, Jessica Arenella, who gave me many pointers and passed along pieces from earlier years. And I owe enormous gratitude to my co-editors, Shelley Rockwell for poetry, about which I know almost nothing; and Nan Heneson, who offered with extreme generosity to look over the entire manuscript, which comes to a massive amount of pages on the computer, almost double that of the printed Journal. And maybe most important of all, I have had guidance and hand-holding from the most important New Directions staff member Paco Martinez-Alvarez, who went step by step over the process of publishing this journal with me, rightly assuming I knew almost nothing.
New Directions Journal Editor
Author of Rescued by a Cow and a Squeeze, a children’s biography of Temple Grandin, and Lost and Found in the Mississippi Sound: Eli and the Dolphins of Hurricane Katrina.