NDJ:2 Kent Jarrett

A Note From the Editor

This is Volume Two, Number One of The New Directions’ Journal. The Journal is an informal, in-house forum to present and try out your work. All work that is submitted is wholly owned by the writers, who can submit their work as is, or revised, to outside journals without any need for permissions. Publishing in this Journal does not constitute prior publication. Since this is only the second time The New Directions’Journal’has been published it might be useful to mention that my job as editor is still in process, still not clearly defined. Currently, participants in the program submit work to me informally and decisions to publish or not are dependent on some idea I have of a theme, of what works together, and what is possible (i.e. artwork, photos, etc. are not yet viable). Admittedly, while I see my work primarily as a compiler, I’ve already managed to achieve a reputation of being rather confusing. In fact, I am confused – lost in this process. Still finding my way. But it just seems that this is probably exactly where I should be at this point. Here’s why.

I do have a notion that the Journal should resonate with the question asked in the New Directions’ brochure, “How can we find the words to contribute our own ideas to the discussion?” I like this question for the following reason: it speaks to the heart of the matter when it comes to writing essays – scientific or otherwise.

In his book, The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present, Phillip Lopate writes in his Introduction, “The Personal Essay as a Mode of Thinking and Being,”

The essay form as a whole has long been associated with an experimental method. The idea goes back to Montaigne and his endlessly suggestive use of the term essaiiox his writings. To essay \s to attempt, to test, to make a run at something without knowing whether you are going to succeed.

That certainly describes my feeling as editor! I think also that it is a good description of what so many of us are grappling with as we struggle to find the right form as well as the right words – even to find the right voice, as we test our ideas; as we put ourselves to the test.

Beverly Decker’s paper I think is a wonderful example of attempting to get at something, to try to tease out what is there that needs to be shared or revealed and I think this is made all the more moving as its structure is in the form of a tribute, a memorial.

The four papers on dreams from the last weekend are being published because their attempts are so successful and also because so few were able to hear their presentations on that last Sunday. It’s important that their work be available to the whole New Directions’ community as well as Tarpley Long’s discussion of them.

Celeste Sinton has been continually asked for copies of her discussion of John Gedo’s paper from the weekend on creativity and the/o(/rna/\s the ideal place to accomplish the task of putting it out there. As John Gedo wryly noted, the “discussion” stands on its own. I think of it, in fact, as a riff on a theme by Gedo. (The weekend was October 26-28, 2001. There is no cite for Dr. Gedo’s paper, but copies are on file at the Foundation’s office.) I was glad to have the opportunity to follow her essay with another example of her creativity, an experimental poem, a Calligram or pattern poem that attempts to communicate in two modes at once – visually and verbally.

Ever since free-writes have become a staple of the Vermont writing retreat, all of us who have discovered their power at helping us to find our way have been eager to explain them to our colleagues. I came back from Vermont this time armed with twenty-five samples of free-writes from this summer’s writers and yet every time I tried to put them into some kind of sensible order, tried to contain them, they were like sand through my fingers, impossible to hold. It was a wrenching decision, having asked so many of the retreat members for permis-

sion to publish their free-writes, to leave them out. I think though that Paula Freed has made a successful run at illustrating what the free-write is all about and one of her own free-writes is included in her essay.

While I’m still experimenting with my role as editor, making a stab at things, and certainly not knowing if I’ll succeed, I can certainly conclude that all of the papers presented in this second issue of the /ot/rnal are filled with wonderfully successful attempts. While it might seem that I’m running around in all directions, the writers included here are definitely headed in the right direction and finding unique, surprising and engaging ways to communicate psychoanalytic ideas.

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