Writing on the Moon

Edited by Bonnie Zindel

Reviewed by Nancy Eichhorn, PhD

The title alone prompted my email to Karnac for a reviewer’s copy of Bonnie Zindel’s newest book. Reading the forward cinched it. Bonnie’s skillful use of figurative language was a bit intimidating, okay totally intimidating. How dare I consider writing a review that wouldn’t fall flat, sound dimwitted and dull when juxtaposed to her masterful use of sound, sight, and syllabication. Bonnie’s taken poetic play to heart; here, just read this sentence aloud and you’ll hear what I mean: “thunderbolts strike, flying shadows lurk, golden arrows soar . . .” (pg. xv). We’ve got jagged energy piercing, ghostly apparitions hovering, a savior coming to the rescue. I read the forward twice simply to appreciate the language.

Bonnie’s background is in fact the proving ground for her artistic ability to be within oneself and yet write the experience out loud for you, and me, to partake as deeply and richly as we desire. She didn’t come to all of this spontaneously. Bonnie is a psychoanalyst, a faculty member, supervisor and trainer at the National Institute for Psychotherapy, the founding editor and literary editor for Psychoanalytic Perspectives, an author of numerous books and articles and a playwright—she’s written and produced three plays. This current project took 15 years from start to finish. It started as a call for poems for a new Creative Literary Section she started in Psychoanalytic Perspectives. The response to that initial call left her wondering how to select eight from the thousands of submissions that arrived. Her creative intuition framed questions that determined what went into the journal then and the book now:

Did I respond emotionally to the poem?
Was I moved?
Did it feel original?
Did I want to read it again?
Did the writers allow me into their being? (pg. xviii)

Writing on the Moon is a collection of poems, stories, and artwork previously published in Psychoanalytic Perspectives. Two-thirds of the 29 contributors are psychoanalysts/psychotherapists with extensive and impressive publishing backgrounds. Those who are patients, artists, poets, writers, performers, professors, cartoonists and so forth are also well published and many are award winners, all prestigious awards no less. This is not a collection of random works from people off the street.

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Bonnie Zindel, LCSW, is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York. She is a faculty member, supervisor, and training analyst at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies. A founding editor and creative literary editor of Psychoanalytic Perspectives, she is the author of numerous articles on creativity. She is the author of “A Bird that Thunders: An Analysis of Emmanuel Ghent”, in Clinical Implications of the Psychoanalyst’s Life Experience (Routledge, 2013). Bonnie has conducted writing groups for psychotherapists for over twenty years and has conducted writing workshops at international conferences in Rome, Madrid, and San Francisco. The New York Times said, She runs what may be the most nurturing writing group on the literary scene.” A playwright and novelist (HarperCollins, Viking, Bodley Head), Bonnie is a former member of the Actors Studio Playwrights Unit. She has most recently written a plan, My Simone, based on the life of Simone de Beauvior, which was recently performed in New York.

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