The Diary Form
I have been afraid of putting the whole truth on the page, to have it out there in plain sight, all the while it is only the truth I mean to tell, but always, and to tell it primarily to myself. I resisted publishing primary source material. How much easier to escape into secondary source, to turn the self into one. I neglected the diaries when, from the beginning, I knew the story of my analytic relationship needed to be published in the mode I had written it in, while I was experiencing it.
Finding my inoculation certificate and writing about Dr. Whittle the other day helped me understand once again how important fragmentary writing is to showing the writer’s work on the move, of discovering a piece of paper and remembering through its touch and absence of sound, how frantic and loud the past.
A half dozen pages or so of my fragments will appear soon in Olivia Dresher’s anthology, In Pieces: An Anthology of Fragmentary Writing, Impassio Press (2006). In these pages I write about my mother’s death, easier to hang out in the air, I suppose, than the dirt in the analytic relationship, which held her and all the rest.
-Esther Altshul Helfgott