Saturday, July 16, 2016

Plane rides and head trips

I went to Canada with my in-laws.
Sounds like the set up for a joke, but it really happened. Anyway, much reading ensued.

Elena Ferrante, The Story of a New Name
This is the second in her four-volume series about the complicated friendship of two women. I read the first one on a friend's recommendation, and then she lent me this second one and I took it because she really liked this series and she said this book was her favorite of the four. I have a hard time getting over Elena Ferrante's style. Remember in creative writing class "show not tell"? Elena Ferrante loves to tell, tell, tell. It gets very monotonous, even when her characters are lively and there's lots of soapy intrigue.

Richard Rohr, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life
A short book on the subject of spirituality before, during and after mid-life by a Franciscan priest who has done a lot of comparative inquiry into themes relating to adult developmental psychology across different spiritualities and disciplines. I read it because it was recommended by the founding instructor at the acting studio where I take scene study class. It's a nice little book, and a good reminder of things I've already read in other places -- from Joseph Campbell, Ken Wilber, Jung, Maslow, Pema Chodoron... However, now that I'm deeper into the complexity of mid-life, I have (obviously) a different perspective on the journey, so it was useful and reassuring to come back again to the subject.

C.G. Jung, Dream Analysis: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1928-1930
A long book of transcripts from classes Jung gave in English to a small group of students. I think it's cool to be able to read someone like Jung without translation, because it seems like so many of these great thinkers use words in very specific ways that get distorted in the translation process. Plus, there's an informality to this text that makes it really accessible. My husband bought this other book by Jung that I just couldn't get into at all because it was so academic.
My therapist comes from a Jungian-influenced school, so he mentioned this book in one of our sessions. Though I don't think there's a "right" way to relate to dreams, I have always been curious about them, and I have had some helpful breakthroughs by sharing my dreams with my therapist, so it was interesting to get some more perspective on Jungian theory and practice. I also often read this book in bed before going to sleep, so the dreams in the book influenced my own dreams, and actually also seem to have influenced my husband's dreams, even though he never opened the book once. Curiouser and curiouser. Maybe there's something to this collective unconscious thing after all.

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