Transference that alchemy of the psychotherapy session, with all its drama and inscrutability is the subject of Friedman's engrossing second book.
Here, the author of Writing Past Dark (about the emotional aspects of the writing process) examines in minute detail her treatment with Dr. Harriet Sing (a pseudonym). Like the poet H.D. (Tribute to Freud), Friedman entered therapy for writer's block. After two weeks, she found herself writing her first book. As a result, she identified Sing as the source of her inspiration, and an intense infatuation resulted: "Little mattered now beside Harriet Sing. Everyone else was merely metaphoric." Friedman emerged confident in her identity as a writer only after seven years of intense self-scrutiny with Sing. By then, the therapist's role had evolved into something far more ambiguous, and it is here that readers may come to understand what really goes on between therapist and patient. Friedman refers to Sing as a "thief of happiness." Though at times self-indulgent (as when the author veers off into half-articulated, dreamy memories, the book is excellent in the way H.D.'s is: it illuminates the intricate, murky relationship between therapy and real life, the ways in which, as the author quotes Adam Phillips, "in one's relationship with the analyst one unwittingly relives and thus discovers one's emotional history."