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Count Crackula: An Example of a Breakthrough in Writing and Healing

Posted on Oct 27, 2006 by

I wrote yesterday about Mark Robinson’s article: Writing Well: Health and the Power to Make Images. I wrote, among other things, of the way images can sometimes offer a kind of breakthrough. And it occurred to me that it might be useful to offer an example of one such image. The one that comes to mind—perhaps because it was the first time I recognized this kind of breakthrough—is an image that emerged over ten years ago when I was teaching creative writing to a group of men and women recovering from addiction.

Count Crackula.

This image emerged in a tale that R., one of the more inventive writers in the group, came up with. He had written a tale—a kind of myth about addiction—and he’d named his characters. The nemesis in his tale was Count Crackula. And when R. read this story aloud to the group—when he named Count Crackula—it was as if this character burst into the room. Something new was happening. You could just feel it. Addiction wasn’t quite so invisible or shadowy. Crack was Count Crackula. A worthy—and vivid—and slightly ludicrous—opponent. (I tend to see the count from Sesame Street when I hear this name, though others may see a different visual image.) In any case, a crackling of energy had come into the room like that feeling in the air just after a flash of lightning—

Names have energy. They can take something that was previously invisible—or amorphous—and give it a form.