Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Washington Square

Howard Hughes famously dropped out of sight, living reclusively in his Las Vegas penthouse. He purportedly didn't even cut his nails. It was when Clifford Irving produced an "as told to" autobiography that Hughes emerged out of hiding to declare the supposed chronicler of his life a fraud. It demonstrates if nothing else how tenaciously people protect their narratives. For one narrative influences self-conception.
 After all isn't a narrative what patients are presumably constructing in therapy? All through life one encounters intransigent folk who push back against the story often motivated by their own selfish and competitive desires. There's always someone who looks askance at your dreams, bristling at your attempts to define yourself in what they consider to be an overly inflated manner. This is the theme of Henry James' Washington Square, where a father's supposed desire to protect his daughter hides his subliminal drive to destroy her.

read "The Findings" by Francis Levy, Evergreen Review

and listen to "Walk on By" by Dionne Warwick

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