Mathias B. Freese is a writer, teacher, and psychotherapist who has authored eight books. His I Truly Lament: Working Through the Holocaust won the Beverly Hills Book Award, Reader’s Favorite Book Award, and was a finalist in the Indie Excellence Book Awards, the Paris Book Festival, and the Amsterdam Book Festival. In 2016, Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers, his first memoir, received seven awards. The following year his second memoir appeared, And Then I Am Gone.
Again. Again and Again: Awakening into Awareness – Essays and Stories
Having once been a psychotherapist who’s never hesitated to turn the therapeutical gun barrel toward himself, Mathias B. Freese ramps up his radical reflexivity in this latest work, from confessional first-person narration to third-person “stories” starring “characters” named Matt. (This genre could be called meta-Matt.) “I write to know perhaps something about who I am,” Freese writes. “I write to arrive at some awareness, however dim, about self or other, for when I have that fleeting moment of awareness, I feel at one — true.” Truly, Again. Again and Again. is a song of himself.
Rocker Billy Idol proves to be an unlikely but apt echoer here: “When there’s nothing to lose and there’s nothing to prove, well, I’m dancing with myself.” As a one-man show, Freese puts the “dance” in “abundance,” stressing an author’s singularity, the innerness of writing, the sharing — rather than the proselytizing — purpose of artistic expression. In other words, as Freese says, “a book is one person’s awareness as he or she sees it.”
More than a few times, Freese had implied that Again. Again and Again. would probably be his swan song, his “final stirrings,” his ultimate testament. How laughable, considering both his prolificacy and “urge and urge and urge” (as Whitman would gush). Sure enough, the author is no longer so sure that he’s expressed enough, and it seems that yet another stirring idea spurs him to create again. Again and…