Academic journal article Mosaic (Winnipeg)

Outside in Analysis

Academic journal article Mosaic (Winnipeg)

Outside in Analysis

Article excerpt

Dream, April 12th, 2007:

  I am standing outside, before the heavy doors of the library,
  waiting for them to open and admit me. Others, their arms heavily
  laden with books, are already entering and leaving through the same
  doors that are closed apparently only for me. I start to feel panic
  at the idea that, by the time I am allowed inside, the shelves will
  have been emptied of the Library of Congress call letters: BF, HC,
  JD. These letters, these initials are called out to me distinctly,
  but also intimately, in silence, and as if before or beyond any
  alphabetic, taxonomic code. I hear the letters call but remain at
  a loss to respond. What to do? Shall I wait to be admitted by the
  mysterious powers in charge of the library, by which time it will no
  doubt be too late? And yet, isn't it already, fatally, too late? I
  should have begun months, years, decades, a lifetime ago to prepare
  the subject, or rather the triple subject, the triply daunting
  subject: HC, JD, and their intersection with BF, in other words,
  with psychoanalysis. What was I thinking? Paralyzed with indecision,
  I can do nothing but stare at the wide double doors, which after
  a while begin to resemble the facing pages of an open book. The
  image of this great volume standing before the threshold of the
  entire alphabet and archive--within without within--is at once
  utterly dismaying and obscurely reassuring. I wake to the thought
  that today, Friday the 13th of April, auspicious date, I must begin
  there, before the threshold where both HC and JD sign, initial their
  texts "outside in analysis."

As you have likely understood, this was not a "real" dream; at least it was not invented as I slept but rather as I laboured more or less awake at the keyboard. It was but a warm-up exercise, I thought, some running in place to overcome inertia. I did not dream of keeping it; rather I meant to set it aside once it had served its purpose. Naturally, I supposed that I knew what the purpose was, but on this score I was soon going to be in doubt. For a few hours later, this time really asleep, I dreamed that I was

  on a skiing trip, staying in a large house with many others--
  including my mother and Jean Luc Nancy. Once I arrive there, I
  realize I have not packed any of my ski clothes or equipment. So the
  next day I must go to a large store while the others wait for me and
  I run around purchasing a jacket, pants, turtlenecks, boots, gloves,
  all of which end up being somehow inappropriate, especially the
  boots: hot pink polka-dot vinyl with high heels. All the while, I am
  terribly anxious because the others are waiting and, I imagine, they
  are very impatient. I leave the store and am driven to the ski slope
  by some young people who have stayed behind to give me a ride.
  Sitting in the passenger seat I suddenly feel a sharp pinching or
  burning sensation between my legs, as if I had to pee very urgently.
  I wake up with this sensation still burning

but it quickly fades as I become aware with great relief that it was a dream. I then replay the scenes over and over, clutching at details. Without quite realizing what I am doing, half - asleep therefore, I begin to translate the dream into French or at least to list in French the items I had needed to purchase: une veste, un pantalon, des cols routes, des bottes, des ..., des ... gloves. I know I know this word but it will not come. I am stuck on gloves, on glove. This symptom startles me more awake. Why was I translating, for whom, to whom? I must have been telling the dream already "in my head" to my friends HC and JD, with whom I almost always try to speak French. And then I begin to wonder if I was being rebuked somehow for the idle exercise I had indulged in the day before when I made up a dream of the library call letters. Neither HC nor JD could have approved of that, I thought. All the same, the glove that will not pass into their language, for which I cannot find the fitting match, is a word delivered to or from their address, I think, each one a different, singular address: the gl - syllable signals to JD's Glas, to the glottal-stopped consonants that stick in the gullet, neither wholly inside nor outside, an incomplete interiorization of the morsel, the bit, le mors, le mort. …

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