By Troy Headrick
Those of us who write autobiographical pieces have one thing in common. We are willing to open ourselves up, to expose our inner workings to the public because we understand that doing so is cathartic. We know, deep in our bones, that this kind of sharing helps, often in the same way one is helped by confessing a long-held and weighty secret. When pressed to explain why this catharsis takes place—to describe the exact causal relationship between the telling and the feeling better afterwards—we may find ourselves at a loss. Writing produces a kind of release that we experience but can’t easily analyze or explain to others.
Psychoanalysts understand this too. They help their patients by having them open up and tell stories about their upbringing and subsequent lives, about their relationships and hopes and fears. Often, once this telling begins, the words pour out like a…
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