To my surprise, my sessions often didn't focus on my writing at all. And I began to realize that the creative block might have been my subconscious attempt to justify analysis. Maybe psyche had tricked me into getting the help I had needed for a very long time.
About ten months into the analytic experience—maybe at 100 or so hours—I began writing again and couldn't stop. Words gushed out of me. This burst, of course, became my forthcoming novel We Are the Light, which is a series of letters from my protagonist, Lucas Goodgame, to his Jungian analyst.
When Avid Reader Press began sending the manuscript out to other writers, hoping for endorsements, my editor, Jofie Ferrari-Adler, brought up the fact that I had thanked This Jungian Life in the acknowledgments. He wondered if we might be able to get a blurb from one of the co-hosts. I had listened to pretty much every single episode of TJL by this time and had become a super fan. I was a little intimidated by the thought of my Jungian-related novel being evaluated by real Jungians.
I talked it over with my analyst. I told him I was thinking of asking Joseph Lee if he might like to read my novel. Joseph had said many things on the podcast that made me believe he might get the book and be supportive. But while I had no problem sending WATL to other novelists, sending it to one of the co-hosts of This Jungian Life made me feel like I was back in school, walking up to my algebra teacher's desk with a completed test in hand, knowing full well that math wasn't exactly my strongest subject.
For a few sessions, my analyst and I continued to talk about the many pros and relatively few cons to sharing my work with the Jungian community. Finally, with my analyst's help, I got up the courage to send my humble request to Joseph Lee. To my great surprise, he agreed to read and then—weeks later—even offered a blurb.
“Matthew Quick is one of the few fiction writers who, inspired by Jungian insights, makes a solid contribution to the impact of analysis. His creative audacity will introduce you to the secrets of psyche and the resilience required to transform excruciating pain into wisdom. Like all significant works of art that reflect truths we might have known, had we not lost our way, We Are the Light is subtle and intimate, compellingly strange and hauntingly familiar, an initiation into the depths of suffering and love. It will not only break your heart—it will break it free.” —Joseph R. Lee, Jungian analyst and cohost of This Jungian Life podcast
Some nice WE ARE THE LIGHT reviews:
“… a testament to the broken and the rebuilt … deeply moving … a balm.” —Booklist *STARRED REVIEW*
“… illuminating … a crackling narrative … excruciatingly honest … The author’s fans will love this.” —Publishers Weekly
Still want to see that picture of me when I was almost seven?
Advanced Reading Copy Interview: I discuss where I live, what being seven years old was like, a book that changed the way I look at life, my favorite children's book, an embarrassing story about me, how I met Alicia and our first date, music I listen to when I am sad, how 40s Matthew Quick is different than 20s Matthew Quick, a question no one has ever asked me before, my anxiety, how I feel about independent bookstores, how I came up with the idea for We Are the Light, reorienting to the feminine in a positive way, and where I would go if I had the ability to time travel. To read, just hit this link: Advanced Reading Copy
Curious about my Jungian journey? Check out This Jungian Life and—if you haven't already—pre-order your SIGNED COPY of We Are the Light today. Downtown Books in Manteo, NC is my official provider of signed Matthew Quick books. The fantastic Jamie Anderson is ready to hook you up. Just hit the SIGNED COPIES button on my website. South Jersey and Philadelphia people, Inkwood Books in Haddonfield, NJ is also taking preorders now.
If you currently feel you might need mental health assistance, please don't put that off. My life has gotten much better as a direct result of reaching out, finding the right analyst, and doing the work. If Jungian analysis isn't for you, there are many other options. You don't have to wait forty-seven years like I did. You are worth it.