Tag Archives: R.D. Laing

Jean Is Writing

Some of us never learn.

Monday morning I slept late. Charlie and I took a walk. We went out for a snack. I took a nap. I moped around all day and went to bed early.

Tuesday morning I slept late. Charlie and I took a walk. We went out for a snack. I took a nap. I moped around all day and went to bed early.

I started thinking that I needed to get some bloodwork done. There was no reason for me to be so exhausted. Tomorrow is Wednesday, and I’ll make an appointment at the lab.

* * * * *

Today is Wednesday. I woke up at 4:30 this morning. I turned on my Chromebook and started typing away on the Shaw book I’m writing.

I found a couple of quotations that I was so excited about that I almost woke Charlie up to tell him about them. (“You’ll never believe what Richard Lanham said about R. D. Laing!” “That’s great, Jean! I’m going back to sleep.” I decided against it.)

Here’s the kicker. Last August I wrote a post about how tired I was, even though I was getting plenty of sleep. I got worried and started thinking about bloodwork. After two days of that I woke up bright and early and started writing like a house on fire.

As I said, some people never learn.

* * * * *

At around five-thirty I got Richard Lanham’s The Motives of Eloquence off the shelf. Somewhere in there I knew he had a wonderful quotation that would be perfect for my chapter. I’ve thought about it a hundred times over the years.

(For those of you who think that academic writing has to be pompous and swollen, the quotation is exactly five words long: “Cast him in another play.”)

I had plenty of ideas for Chapter Three, but I wasn’t able to work my keywords in: drama, theater, acting. “Cast him in another play” would help. I thumbed through the book looking for it. Did I have the sense to highlight it the last time I read Lanham’s book?

Yes! There it was, streaked in pink on page 14! (I’m sticking my tongue out at the teachers who told me I should never mark up a book. Do you have any idea how much time that pink highlighter has saved me over the years?)

But here’s what’s freaky. (Stop reading now. The only person who could ever be even remotely interested in the rest of this is me.)

R. D. Laing was a Scottish psychiatrist who was…different. I’ve read tons of his stuff. He was brilliant, offbeat, erratic, and wonderful.

I wanted to work his book Marriage, Sanity, and the Family into my chapter. Barbara Undershaft (the central character in one of the plays I’m writing about) was being driven mad by her family.

Wouldn’t it be cool to have a famous Scottish psychiatrist weigh in on the craziness in Barbara’s family? But how would I make the connection between real, clinical madness and a fictional character?

And there, streaked in pink on page 14, was the rest of Lanham’s paragraph, including these words: “…R. D. Laing’s analysis of bad domestic drama.”

Keyword! Keyword!

At some point I will finish this chapter. I will finish this book. I will dance again and travel again. There will be other writing projects. And I will be tired, and I’ll think that maybe I should get some bloodwork done….

Some people never learn.

Tired Sleepy Cat