Heinz Kohut, the creator of Self Psychology, created the concept of twinship or twinning transference. “According to Kohut it is a form of narcissistic transference as expressing the self’s need to rely on another as a narcissistic function possessing characteristics like herself.” In less Kohutian and more Belettian like terms it goes like this : “I look for ways that you and I are exactly alike in order to feel better about myself.”
Fortunately Kohut came up with other kinds of transference because there is something about a twinship transference that can feel a little forced: “OMG, you like animals and I like animals. You like to read and I like to read; you like coffee and I like coffee, etc. We are sooooo much alike.” Yes, I suppose if pressed we could find a way to create a twinship transference with almost anyone if we worked hard at it enough and it met some narcissistic need. But there is often so much stretching involved in creating a twinship transference that one needs a good deal of Advil afterwards to deal with the muscle pain.
That said, it seems that I have a twinship transference with author David Eggers that I think is more of a simple stretch, the kind that seniors do in a “Sit an be fit” class.
Here I go:
- Dave Eggers is from Lake Forest. I lived in Lake Forest/ Bluff.
- Dave started a foundation for children called 826 Valencia and I live in Valencia.
- He writes memoir and I write memoir.
- Dave edits and publishes McSweeney’s and I buy McSweeney’s.
- He wrote “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius“( my favorite title of all time and one of my favorite books) and I am writing a book that breaks my heart and seems to be lacking in genius.
- Dave wrote his book from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. I write mine, when I write it, from noon to 5 p.m.
- If people Google writing and Valencia they will either end up my blog or on Egger’s 826 Valencia. Yes, that is me at the bottom of the page. But, hey, I am there.
I have no desire to meet Eggers or tell him how much I love his book (and I do) or even to some how to try and weasel and get him to read my writing. No, my crazy is more this flavor: If I have all this in common with Dave, does it thereby mean that I too will have a memoir about my heartbreaking life published to great critical acclaim? Okay, that last part is really embarrassing but if I have any hope of being like Dave I have to tell the truth even when it is embarrassing. Eggers says “We feel that to reveal embarrassing or private things, we have given someone something, that, like a primitive person fearing that a photographer will steal his soul, we identify our secrets, our past and their blotches, with our identity, that revealing our habits or losses or deeds somehow makes one less of oneself. ” If Dave can have the courage to admit to auditioning for the Real World then I can cop to my delusional hopes of great literary success.
So often people tell me I am brave to talk about the things I do on my blog and I never really understand why you think so. I am writing under a pseudonym and there are no pictures or anything on the blog that reveal who I am as an outer person. All I reveal is the inside and somehow writing about those things makes me feel less alone. Or as Dave says it:
“Because secrets do not increase in value if kept in a gore-ian lockbox, because one’s past is either made useful or else mutates and becomes cancerous. We share things for the obvious reasons: it makes us feel un-alone, it spreads the weight over a larger area, it holds the possibility of making our share lighter. And it can work either way – not simply as a pain-relief device, but, in the case of not bad news but good, as a share-the-happy-things-I’ve-seen
/lessons-I’ve-learned vehicle. Or as a tool for simple connectivity for its own sake, a testing of waters, a stab at engagement with a mass of strangers.”
Unlike Dave, my parent’s did not die and I had no young brother to take care of and I did not move to San Francisco and start a literary magazine, but there is so much in “A Heartbreaking work of staggering genius” that I relate to. You know they say that twins have an almost psychic connection, well there are a few paragraphs in his book that feel like they are words I have written or at least thought. Writing this post I found this quote by Eggers that explains perfectly why I write what I write on this blog:
“Whatever I do, however I find a way to live, I will tell these stories. I have spoken to every person I have encountered these last few difficult days, and every person who has entered my path during these awful morning hours, because to do anything less would be something less than human. I speak to these people, and I speak to you because I cannot help it. It gives me strength, almost unbelievable strength, to know that you are there. I covet your eyes, your ears, the collapsible space between us. How blessed are we to have each other? I am alive and you are alive so we must fill the air with our words. I will fill today, tomorrow, every day until I am taken back to God. I will tell stories to people who will listen and to people who don’t want to listen, to people who seek me out and to those who run. All the while I will know that you are there. How can I pretend that you do not exist? It would be almost as impossible as you pretending that I do not exist.”