Projecting

Standard

A paperweight, made in Japan, sits on the corner of your table, an object you recognize from Bartleby the Scrivener, which you read in an English class, like mine, that was taught pretentiously and named Literature and Composition—not Reading and Writing (a class that felt like a guided walk through prose for the metaphor- and analogy-blind who never understood how Bartleby could exist and be imagined simultaneously). But then what is schizophrenia anyway?

I didn’t blame my classmates for failing to understand mental disorder.

Their parents were not psychologists. I was the exception. When I was 10 I explained to my parents’ dinner guests that my concerns about my friends were likely just projections of my own insecurities and the adults laughed at me, the 10-year-old, talking about projection.

Anyway Bartleby actually wasn’t an example of a schizo—the Literature and Composition teacher intoned—but of a doppelganger. I was quiet then, and so were you, thinking

about Bartleby and doppelgangers as doubles, wraiths of the living, why not wraiths of the mind? In any case, you imagine the lazy scrivener as you consider the paperweight because that is what he used to hold down the edges of his life that he shared with someone else, not unlike my life and yours, maybe the same—though I don’t know you and probably, you don’t know me.

Imagine,

though, as you might Japan or a character in a book, imagine me, maybe in an article on your table, held down by the heaviness of a paperweight.

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