I must finish losing the “home identity” I acquired in Reeducation. With this identity I am abusable at home and at my home institution. This makes it really hard to concentrate in the places I spend most of my time because I am always looking over my shoulder for the next blow. I am loath to travel elsewhere because the home situation is so exhausting, and also because I do not want people elsewhere to smell it on me.
Every day I am afraid that what happened long ago will happen again — I will be caught in a vise of unattractive options and frightening warnings, and get stuck. When I write first drafts I always have more material than I can possibly control, and very many synapses. This could be overwhelming if I had not learned long ago to manage it. It is still all I can manage, however, at least during writing hours. I have to schedule all other thoughts for outside writing hours.
Reeducation added other rushing waters to my writing hours, including anxiety that I would be abused emotionally for writing, accused of hurting others by writing, or simply be found and stopped. It as though someone were breathing down my neck and whispering, this only proves your guilt, while someone else shouted imperiously, you are unlikely to succeed. It used to be that all I had to deal with was the synapses. Now grafted onto that waterfall are anxiety and panic about what the authorities will do, and guilt about wanting to ignore their feelings.
I have to channel the old way of working. In those days I had long since dispelled the ideas that I was incompetent or that there was no market for me. I had not yet learned that I should not be doing this. That is the harder concept to drop. I acquired this idea that my work hurt people. Perhaps I can transition out of this by imagining that it kills fascists.
There is another problem, which is that I still think of myself and the authorities too much, and the work not enough. I have heard so many times that research and creative work are worthless in themselves, but are only means to ends such as getting to conferences where one might get jobs, or getting promoted where one was, that I think about the authorities almost more than I do the interesting work which is that point.
Some of the authorities only say to go faster, that they do not believe I can do this, and so on. I am used to that, and I do not listen. The other authorities say that if I am interested in what I am doing, that I am not jaded enough to know that nothing is interesting. They make fun of my lack of cynicism and my belief that I can do this. If I say I am not interested in this, but in something else, they say that is not the point, the point is to suffer carefully and pump out the maximum number of empty, yet acceptable words.
I am not sure what I am actually arguing in the present book. What is strange about it, though, is that I am truly interested it and it is truly mine.