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Wednesday, 28 May 2014 14:45

A frank look at monogamy through the ages

In our tell-all age of talk shows and reality television, of Facebook and Twitter, the idea that restraint and repression might contain some worth seems as antiquated a concept as arranged marriages. We revel in revelation: our bookstores are jammed…
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 00:00

Family ties, past and present

The Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne. Algonquin Books, 2006. All of us bring ghosts to our table. Whether we dine alone in a lovely restaurant or take our supper at home with our spouse and children. Whether we…
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

Use Eagles if Necessary, Chapter 1: Colorado

By Jim Joyce We like to think we are in charge of our lives, and sometimes we are, but there are times when events occur beyond our control that take us places we didn’t know existed and from which there…
I had become a dedicated analysand (patient) and continued to see Veryl after my wife and sons moved back to Florida. I became hooked on the process, intrigued by the simple truths it revealed, and hungered for more. I also…
Early on psychoanalysis was dubbed “The Jewish Science” because nearly all of the first practitioners were Jews. Although Christianity was fathered by Judaism, there are some striking differences between these faiths. Jews don’t concern themselves with an afterlife; Christians are…
When my session on a Friday was over I got up and proceeded to the door of the consultation room. As I passed Jean’s chair he handed me a piece of paper. He’d never done this and I asked what…
One of the first things we learned as psychoanalytic candidates was that a person’s I.Q. (basic intelligence) and his or her emotional stability have nothing to do with each other. Early on in my practice I experienced this. Some of…
Many people thing being a shrink is a mysterious, even glamorous, profession. It is, but only at cocktail parties. The day to day doing of it is hard work and often involves the elements of: Fear (I hope she doesn’t…
The emotional system is subject to illness just as are the various parts of the body, but to isolate an emotional illness, and put a completely accurate label on it, is often impossible. A bodily illness, on the other hand,…
We shrinks have been accused of starting the sexual revolution, which began in the mid-20th century. This isn’t true. A case could be made that it was the Irish writer, James Joyce, (no relation) who started the sexual revolution, at…
Carl Jung was a workaholic, and unlike his wife he needed little sleep. After Mrs. Jung (Emma) went to bed, Carl would sit in their darkened bedroom sipping cognac after cognac while thinking great thoughts. One night he began ruminating…
Like so many of the psychic forces that affect our lives, transference is mostly conducted at the unconscious level. (I’ll bet you are not surprised.) But unlike some other unconscious forces, transference is fairly easy to spot once we grasp…
Albert Einstein said that insanity is when someone does the same thing over and over but expects different results each time. Einstein was wrong. That is not insanity, but it is the hallmark of a psychological phenomenon called, “The repetition…
Wednesday, 21 June 2006 00:00

Use Eagles if Necessary, Chapter 12: Gotcha

Rush hour traffic is heavy in all directions as you come to a red light. You are in the left lane with one car in front of you. The driver signals for a left turn, which is what you are…
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 00:00

Use Eagles if Necessary, Chapter 13: Dreams

At a social gathering I am introduced to someone. The conversation goes like this: Mutual Friend: “Helen, I’d like you to meet Jim Joyce.”
Sigmund Freud, M.D., of Vienna, Austria, is known as The Father of Psychoanalysis. Note, that is the Father, not the founder. The founder was another medical doctor, Joseph Breuer, who was a friend and mentor to Sigmund. Dr. Breuer had…
Early in our training we were taught that our most important tool to help patients was our intuition, because the heart and gut are more attuned to emotions than is the logic of the brain. Intuition, we learned, superceded academic…
Shrinks, like other professionals, are a kaleidoscope of humanity. They are fat, skinny, tall, short, handsome, beautiful, ugly. Some have bombastic personalities and others are terribly shy. If there is a common thread, and of course there is, shrinks, like…
People go through life with a multitude of eyeballs. Architects see structures noting design and materials; realtors look for FSBO’s (for sale by owner’s); clergymen see the wondrous hand of God on his creation, or they see the mark of…
I was sitting in the rocking chair on the front porch of our house in the North Carolina mountains enjoying the summer night. Barbara was out of town visiting her parents. It was an extraordinarily pleasant evening with soft breezes…
The majority of my patients came to see me because they were depressed. Some were especially down in the dumps and others were only vaguely sad — but all the time. Depression is now at the epidemic level in the…
Many of the maladies that affect our emotional systems are fueled by the amount of anger we have storehoused in our unconscious minds. This cache of dangerous energy will dictate more than any other factor whether we are at peace…
When children are growing up their parents are omnipotent, so it is safe to say they will have enormous impact on their children’s emotional development. When environmentally caused problems arise, a parent is probably — at least partially — responsible,…
When listening to my patients tell about their less-than-perfect, sometimes horrific, childhoods, I sometimes asked myself, “Who saved their butts?” Yes, they were in analysis and, yes, they had a multitude of problems yet they were, in most cases, able…
The theme throughout this book has been: When a person is emotionally messed up, he or she was made that way, in most instances, from childhood experiences. This is not my idea; I’ve just brought it to your attention. Those…
My buddy, “Ralph,” teaches at a major university. He is about as bright a guy as I’ve ever met and one of the most well rounded. He can expound on any topic from the physical sciences to the formation of…
It’s almost time for resolution and termination but first some last minute housekeeping. You should know that I do not believe Adam and Eve are historical people. I was taught Darwin’s theory of biological evolution by the Jesuits and that’s…
Wednesday, 13 September 2006 00:00

Death call Everyman

When I registered as a sophomore at Western Carolina University (then, Western Carolina Teachers’ College) in 1954, I heard a number of my classmates talking about Dr. George Herring. “Get a class under him, Gary,” they said. “Hurry! His literature…
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 00:00

Dark story explores love, retribution

I have always been drawn to authors who can seize your attention in the first paragraph and like a pit bull, refuse to let you go. Ron Rash can do that (Serena). So can Philipp Meyer (The Son). These guys…
By Fred Alexander • Guest Writer There’s never been a more entertaining book for those who enjoy working in a home machine shop than Randolph’s Shop by Randolph Bulgin of Franklin. The gentle, penetrating humor so clearly captured in the…
Wednesday, 30 August 2006 00:00

Frank delivers another fine detective novel

In Marshall Frank’s latest Miami detective novel, The Latent (ISBN 1-4137-9890-X), a serial killer is terrorizing Miami’s gay community. Rockford “Rock” Burgamy, the detective assigned to the case and a stranger to the gay subculture, must not only track down…
Wednesday, 23 August 2006 00:00

Betrayed, rejection and self-destruction

15 years ago, Donna Tautt’s The Secret History managed to acquire an amazing following among university students in the United States and England. Within a year of its publication (1992), campus clubs and Internet web sites were formed solely for…
Wednesday, 16 August 2006 00:00

Captives and Captivations

Narratives of confinement have long held a fascination for readers. From Saint Paul’s account of his imprisonment to modern stories of Turkish prisons, Alcatraz, and the Hanoi Hilton, we find ourselves roused by stories of courage and tenacity shown in…
Wednesday, 09 August 2006 00:00

Three dark gems

Almost a decade ago, I wrote an unabashed rave review of Howard Bahr’s The Black Flower (1997), a darkly beautiful novel based on one of the Civil War’s most tragic events, the Battle of Franklin.
Wednesday, 26 July 2006 00:00

Hope in a rude world

In the last 40 years, the living waters of American law and politics have flattened into a bog of faction and dissent, of lawsuits and grievance groups, of hatreds both petty and grand.
Wednesday, 19 July 2006 00:00

Chick check

The word “ubiquitous” is an apt adjective for Chick comics. They show up in motel rooms, garages, pool halls, laundromats, telephone booths, homeless shelters and Christian bookstores. The small format (about the size of an index card) with 24 to…
Wednesday, 12 July 2006 00:00

An open eye

Let’s imagine for a moment that it is Election Day in some unspecified city, and the proper government officials have gathered in the local polls to record and count the votes. However, when the doors open, no voters appear (it…
Wednesday, 05 July 2006 00:00

In need of help

Steve Salerno’s SHAM: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless (ISBN 1-40005409-5, $24.95) is not only an attack on the self-help movement — SHAM is the acronym for Self-Help and Actualization Movement — but also a very amusing book.
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 00:00

Real Mountain dialect

Like hundreds of other mountain folk who grew up listening to “the old folks talking,” I always wanted to be a storyteller. Sitting on the dark end of my granny’s porch on a windy October night, I listened to her…
Wednesday, 21 June 2006 00:00

Money verses morals

During my senior year of high school, my brother, some friends, and I went to a James Bond film festival. If I remember correctly, we entered the theater around seven in the evening and staggered out about one the next…
Wednesday, 14 June 2006 00:00

Amazing language found in a lost novel

Recently, the New York Times set off a hotly contested literary skirmish by naming what their literary staff considered to be the greatest novels of the past 25 years. A platoon of critics entered the fray, and after a bit…
Back in the day when the “culture wars” focused more on literature, music and movies — Tipper Gore, for example, then the wife of Al Gore, in 1985 led a crusade advocating age-appropriate labels on popular music — Christians often…
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:00

Hard times and happy days

On March 4, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office. Frank C. Davis, the author of My C.C.C. Days, says “the lights in all the government buildings in Washington, D. C., burned all night, that night.”
Wednesday, 24 May 2006 00:00

Discovering the dawn

In April I began working a few weekend hours in a bookshop in Asheville. Having operated my own bookstore for more than 20 years and having worked in bookstores for 10 years before that, I took up this newest position…
Wednesday, 17 May 2006 00:00

A Melange of murder and myth

If you have a TV, you probably know that the film version of Dan Brown’s blockbuster novel is scheduled for release this month. According to a bevy of movie commentators, their projections indicate that “The Da Vinci Code” will be…
Well, it’s spring — a beautiful spring indeed this year — and that time on the calendar when a young man’s fancy turns to love.
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

A lost soul finds a home

On a spring night in 1929, Mary Seneca Steele escapes from her home in Charleston, taking only her two children (Pet and Hugh), a new Auburn Phaeton (belonging to her abusive, shiftless husband, Hubert (Foots) Pettigrew Lamb, and $33. Her…
Besides being what T.S. Eliot called “the cruelest month/Breeding lilacs out of the dead land,” April is also National Poetry Month. To do honor to poetry, let’s look at two books that have much to do with the poem and…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

King’s zombie nation

Yes dear reader, when Stephen King’s dread armies of the mindless begin their apocalyptic trudge through the devastated towns of New England, they march to the sweet trills of Debbie Boone. As they tread their way around the bodies of…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

Simple significance

Writers typically aim to give the reader a protagonist who is likeable. Most of us don’t want to spend hours of our life getting to know protagonists who leave us cold inside, central characters who are so odd or so…
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

An attempt to straighten the world

There is a passage in the heart of Ron Rash’s novel, The World Made Straight, in which Leonard Shuler remembers a visit to Shelton Laurel with his grandfather shortly before Shuler leaves to attend the University of North Carolina.
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

Carden wins Brown-Hudson Folklore Award

Author, storyteller and playwright Gary Carden of Sylva has been awarded the Brown-Hudson Folklore Award presented by the North Carolina Folklore Society.
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

Books that evoke special times

Sometimes a book touches our hearts in a very special way. In the winter and spring of 1978, having saved from our combined incomes of the previous year, my wife and I celebrated our January wedding by traveling for three…
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 13:58

Old West comes alive in Enger novel

If you love epic tales that celebrate the American West; if you treasure novels like Trail of the Lonesome Dove, Edna Ferber’s So Big (Giant) and McCarthy’s Cities on the Plain, you might want to saddle up for Peace Like…
Let’s begin by noting the continuing biographical interest in writers and drinking. In my own collection are Tom Dardis’s The Thirsty Muse; Kelly Boler’s A Drinking Companion: Alcohol & The Lives of Writers; physician Donald W. Goodwin’s Alcohol and the…
Since I happen to love folklore and storytelling, I have always felt blessed to be a resident of Jackson County. Sitting on my front porch, I can see Black Rock, where a local law officer vanished 80 years ago while…
This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More, For Young and Old Alike (Picador, 2013 reprint, $15) has minor flaws to irritate every reader. For me, the title on the dust-jacket…
Wednesday, 15 March 2006 00:00

Leaving no doubt behind

About 15 years ago, one frequent guest at our bed and breakfast here in Waynesville was a Mrs. Irene Harrison, wife of a well-known New York state attorney and daughter of Charles Seiberling, the tire manufacturer. Though Mrs. Harrison was…
Wednesday, 08 March 2006 00:00

Modern twist on southern gothic

Dear readers, your attention, please! Hailing from the backwater town of Alexandria, Miss., allow me to introduce 12-year-old Harriet Dufresnes! Although she isn’t as attractive as her older sister, Allison, Harriet is well read (Kipling’s The Jungle Book and a…
Wednesday, 01 March 2006 00:00

A look at three self stories

After reading three autobiographies in less than 10 days, I emerged from the encounter feeling much like a lover who has finally encountered the full physicality of his beloved: I’m thankful for the romp but find myself a little disillusioned,…
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