To Resume Again...
Josefina Ayerza

Author's Bio

(Erika was talking  . . . I began to wonder if she had previously told the same story to other analysts in other languages, when . . . )

  . . . So I came to this country because I did not want to live with scar-city . . .

(Scar-city?. . . Was it a slip? Although she had learned English before German — she had spoken it at home, at school — her maternal language is German. She definitely meant scarcity, but as she uttered it . . . She seems surprised . . . I’ll clarify it for her.)

— You don’t say ‘scarcity,’ you say ‘'skε∂siti,’ although you write ‘scarcity.’ You are saying something else, you are saying ‘scar-city,’ this is two words. . .

So  . . . 'skε∂siti . . . 'skε∂siti . . . scarcity . . .  scar-city . . . It may have been a slip.

(Scarce — Scar? In any case it’s a good one)

— I suddenly remember a dream I had last night: I was sitting in a room, my mother . . .  her presence . . . beside me. Through the partly open door across the hallway — it had a red-purple rug — I could see through another partly-open door: there was my father, naked,  his penis erect. I turned my head in the direction my mother was, and when I looked back my father’s penis was gone: he had cut it with a scissor. Instead . . . in this spot, that is . . . where the penis hooks to the body . . . there was a round mark which had the shape of a big coin, a medal of flesh. A scar? I woke up —

— ¿Who was the man? —

— My father —

— Who was the man?-

— You’d like him to be you, look at your gesture! I never saw my father completly naked . . . I never saw my father’s penis. The penis . . . it looked like L.’s penis. The body belonged to my father, it had beatiful feet. Your body could look like that . . . you are thin and tall . . . but I do not know about your feet . . . in there . . . inside your shoes. I didn’t see the face, it could be anybody’s face. The same with my mother, I can’t remember the face, but I could feel her there.

— So what’s that? a man whose body belongs to one man and his penis belongs to another, could it be you?

— Me? —

— Yes, you, what would you cut out? —

— I don’t have things stiking out, and I never thought of having them or wanted to have them . . .  well, there is my bosom . . . Well, there could be something there, but I don’t feel like telling you —            

— Tell me on Friday —



There she is again with the tight sweater, now shewants me to notice her breast, of course. What does she want? She’s so hysterical . . . !

  Scars . . . dis-cars . . . discourses . . . I wonder if there is a discourse of the scars. . ..

(Talking of scars talking . . . now her story was taking her right back into the uterus: while pregnant of herself, some extreme family situation would have affected her mother, scared her . . .  the question, had she participated of her mother’s scare while inside of the womb? That is, were her fears atavistic?

What we know is that what will be cut out is her own body — that it will be separated from this other one, her mother’s  . . .her scare is her mother’s . . . the umbilical cord will be cut, the navel — a scar — will be hers .  . . I’ll highlight the joining point . . . )

— Scary . . .

— Oh! . . . scary scar . . .

(Her infantile imagination had filled the place with thieves, snakes, frogs and monsters . . . and there was the scary cousin she loved and feared . . . he had later devel­oped into a psychotic and committed suicide.

— Well . . . also . . . I was scared of you. The only reference I had was your book . . . I bought it in a bookstore, I read it, I found your phone number in the phone book,  and this is how I called you . . . you know . . . in this enormous city. I was scared . . .  some patients get raped by their analysts.

— Okayyy! —

— May I have your pen to write the check? I forgot mine . . .

— My pen?

— Well . . . what can I do? I am not asking for the Mont Blanc, it’s

that I just need a pen to do my check or you won’t get payed today—

I threw  it at her. But later . . . she had already left . . . where is my pen?  Penis — pen, had I been left with the scar? I realized she had taken it with her. But she couldn’t have gone too far. I opened the door, she was waiting for the elevator.

— Erika.!, Erika.! —

She turned around, she was surprised.

— What about my pen?—

_ Oh! . . . I’m so sorry!



Is this Lacan’s woman behind her veil? “. . . it is the absence of the penis that turns her into the phallus,”1 thus, the story of the pretty wig and fancy dress up against men who go straight to the point . . .

About the dream, we’ll say that it approaches a kind of ‘masquerade.’ So in this sense:

Scar, introduced in the transference, is killing scarce; not the same way, but still, pen, introduced in the transference, is killing penis.

Her sex,  a scar? In as much as this scar is a representation of an absence, none other than the penis in this particular case, lets say that it is precisely the scar what may turn her into the phallus. The scar amounts to the wig? The phallus is the image of the penis, its absence. 

Scarce — what she didn’t get to articulate, what got buried in the body,  therefore the empty signifier, the non-sense, which may only be understood through scar, holding part of its truth.

Scare —She announced a discourse, the discourse of the scars. “Since only hysteria raises it self as discourse . . .”1 But we should find the symptom before we indulge in calling her an hysterical. Did the scars say scary? Of course they did. The scared mother/ herself — scare in the Other,  the Other embodying scare to the point that before birth there was but the one, only scare: the  mother/herself were scared because the father was absent. Then about the red rug in the corridor she added that it  stood for blood; it was blood on a cotton-wool. So the six os in blood and cotton wool  she refered to as eyes — that is that the six eyes of the three people envolved were on this rug. Drive in the family romance — drive in the trasference(scopic drive). It was at the time of her sexual development, that the bloody cotton wool in the waist basket had provoked her father’s anger .Had the scar bled? Her father’s anger, his scare was what had scared her the most.

Scare after scar, not only says about scar, it also articulates the symptom — it’s formal envelope? In any case, this was her complaint.2 Versus the pregnant mother, was her scare atavic? versus the father, why did the scare up against the bleeding scar make him so angry? versus her own phantasy, the frogs and snakes; versus the world, the cousin, myself — “men may rape you.”

According to Miller,3 there is in the symptom a message, and there is in the symptom jouissance. Already for the message, scare, very much the Other’s, raises an hysterical subject. Jouissance maybe thought in the suffering of it. 

Penis. This signifier  she did articulate. So it was only when she asked for the pen, moreover when she stole the pen that the lacanian inmolation took place again.  Pen kills penis:  what gets lost is the jouissance which concerns the penis. So the passage à l’acte, we soon found out that she wanted to write —  writing in English was to be her big task. The scene of the stolen pen got periodically repeated through the process of analysis.


Many years later, at the end of analysis, she had another dream. A pot on the flor, a plant growing, its leaves like a big sheet — a carpet of thin flesh — covered the ground in great extension. On top of the pot already covered by this strange plant, there was a flower, made of colored pieces of flesh.

The connection to the the first dream she saw through the signifier ‘carpet’: car-pet.  Lacan talks of babys as human pets. Erika saw this as re-birth. The pet in a car: the new plant grew from the empty eyes sockets.

There's no mother.



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