From the Central Coast of California to Baden-Baden, Toronto, Siracusa, and Budapest, Christina Griffin
's The Regulars’ Table: Conversations with Ferenczi
(International Psychoanalytic Books, 2018) is about deep enduring friendships; then and now. Inspired by Ignotus’ eulogy for Ferenczi, Christina Griffin decided to emulate his experiments in thought transference. This experience of sitting wordlessly with a friend and “silent writing” is the catalyst for a great adventure from her home in California to the cafes of Budapest where Ferenczi once gathered with friends and colleagues at their regular table. In 1929 one of the regulars, Frigyes Karinthy wrote a short story, Chains where he introduced the concept of six degrees of separation. Through her receptivity as a psychoanalyst, Dr. Griffin allows for the “interruption of the uncanny”, explores the “consequences and fears of vanishing” and discovers that she is separated from Ferenczi and his regulars by fewer than six degrees. Mining the Ferenczi correspondence as well as the writings of novelists, poets, painters, psychoanalysts, playwrights, and musicians, Griffin reconstructs a world where she joins Ferenczi to satisfy their mutual interest in “all that was human” and the “mysterious process of living among others.”
Christopher Russell, LP is a psychoanalyst in Chelsea Manhattan.