NOVEL AS A PSYCHOANALYTICAL TOOL.
The creative writing , in general , is a very complex process from psychological perspective. This is all the more true for writing of fiction. By and large , this process is opaque. In fact , purely from cognitive perspective , we do not even know how our brain processes human languages ( let alone fiction writing) in great detail. However , in spite of this ignorance , there is a consensus amongst literary critics that creative writing can be deconstructed to arrive at some insights into how creativity operates in the mind of a given author of fiction. This psychoanalytical approach has been very fruitful in English literature and has been extended to deconstruct not just individual authors but also to deconstruct society’s psyche in general.
I would like to look at this paradigm of psychoanalytic deconstruction from a very limited perspective of my own creative writing. There is an inherent risk of subjectivity when one seeks to deconstruct one’s own creativity. However , the risk of subjectivity exists in any literary criticism and that has not diminished literary utility of such criticisms. The question is not whether such deconstruction is subjective or not. The question is whether , in spite of its subjectivity , such a criticism provides any meaningful insights into the process of creative writing or not.
With these provisos in mind , let me articulate my own experience with self deconstruction of my own creative writing. As mentioned in the epilogue of my novel , I had set out to write a novel with the hope that I would be able to analyze my own creative impulses while they actuated into the novel.I was under the impression that , being trained as a scientist , I would be better equipped to employ my own analytical skills to observe the very act of creative writing on real time basis. I thought , rather foolishly, that my training as a scientist would enable me to observe my own self in the process of writing. I was wrong. The separation of one’s conscious and unconscious mind ,if it exists at all , is not complete. In my opinion ( and I am saying this after having watched my own creative impulses from inside) ,the labels of conscious and unconscious mind are merely convenient handles that one employs in thinking about about our mind. The human mind is far more complex than any such divisions suggest. The concept of modular mind is rather popular amongst cognitive scientists. However , they have discovered that such a description is simplistic and in some sense misleading. If one can not separate the conscious mind from its unconscious counterpart , how valid any psychoanalytic deconstruction can be ? ( this question is not restricted to just psychoanalytic deconstruction of creative writing but is valid for all psychoanalytical theories because the very foundation of psychoanalysis lies in assumption that our critical faculty supervenes our psyche and that the therapy consists of enabling patients to view their psychopathologies from their own conscious selves. This self cognition of their own psychopathologies by patients ensures a dissolution of these pathologies. ) Surprisingly ,such deconstructions are valid for different reasons. I have discovered ,while writing this novel , that in spite of this opacity of our cognitive processes ,such psychoanalytic deconstructions are partially valid. While one can not observe ( and deconstruct) the processes involved in creative writing in action , it is possible to deconstruct the final product after it has been completed. This post facto amenability of creative writing to psychoanalytic deconstruction may sound counterintuitive but it is not. This is because there is a misconception about the basis on which such deconstructions are carried out. The psychoanalytic paradigm has been dominated by Freudian principles. ( just think of H. D. Lawrence and “SONS AND LOVERS” ) However ,it is possible to deconstruct creativity using different principles.
While attempting to deconstruct my own writing ,I found that in addition to emotional drives( which is what Freudian principles try to deconstruct from the narrow prism of sexuality) there is another additional foundation from which our creative thoughts arise. This foundation consists of semantics. While struggling to develop the plot of my novel further ,I realized that , I was searching for correct nuance of meaning of words and concepts I was using. It is while searching for implicit meaning of words in that particular context that my unconscious mind would throw up not just alternate synonyms but also alternate scenarios of the plot. In fact I can confess that magical realism in the form of multiple ( sometimes parallel) narratives that appear in the novel are result of my inability to select only one of the options offered by my unconscious mind. I have come to conclusion that our unconscious mind operates on the semantics and our emotions simply influence the direction of that semantic processing. Thus psychoanalytic paradigm can work post facto but only when it is based on more complex foundation than merely on emotional paradigm ( including Freudian principles).
In summary , I can say that any such psychoanalytic deconstruction of creative writing may be feasible , but only post facto. It can not be employed while the creative writing is in progress. In addition , it must be kept in mind that that there is an element of subjectivity in all such deconstructions. This subjectivity ensures that there are always multiple deconstructions possible with each deconstruction being equally valid.