Letting the cat out of the bag

Letting the cat out of the bag

Thoughts on the recent publication of Myopia, a memoir 

In the first place, a memoir is not an autobiography, so that I was able to write about what I thought were important incidents that would emphasize the points I wished to make in writing the book. Secondly, I am in the process of retiring as a psychoanalyst and I think my patients have probably known me pretty well. They may not have had access to the details, but I’m guessing that I have, over the years, revealed much more about myself than I am aware, just by being who I am.

Myopia1This memoir was written, rewritten, stuffed in a box in my closet, pulled out and written and rewritten again. Initially, my sister and I thought we might write the book together, calling it “Double Vision.” My sister is an accomplished artist and decided she wished to put her energy there. Although, she does debate about writing her side of the story for her daughter. I think that might prove very interesting. For example, we have different memories of how old my maternal grandfather was when he came to this country, and there is no documentation available to us now. I remember my mother always saying he was 17 years old. My sister remembers 10.

What is true and not debatable are the characters and the influence they have had on each of us. We clearly remember how fearful my father was, how he had to have the newspaper every day to know exactly what was taking place in the world around him. We both remember the essence of life in the Mitnick household, even if some of the details are slightly different.

I will always be grateful to my mentor, Thomas H. Ogden, MD, for his careful reading of this memoir over time and his incredible analysis of my family and of the writing. The memoir truly taught me how to write, actually, how to rewrite. This has been a long journey in understanding myself and what it means to be the first-generation child of a refugee to this country. If it is interesting and/or helpful to anyone else, then I am pleased to be letting the cat out of the bag.

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