I feel different now, as though a missing tile had been installed in my spinal column, something along those lines. I am getting to be almost as lucid as before Reeducation. It is this solid feeling, and I see I can feel even more solid. I remember being this way.

Still, I dreamed I had driven into a ditch and could not find a way out of the car. I woke up angry at the professors who cowed me into staying in field despite the fact that it had been ruined for me long since, and despite my own sense that lengthening my sentence in it would do few people any good beyond those who would feel calmed to know I was still a professor (or, more darkly, those who believed being a professor was not a real job and that since I would never be qualified for any real jobs I had to be a professor). I suppose, however, that they meant well, and in a certain way they could have been right with their “but you have so much to contribute.”

Yet the realities they live in, I discern, resemble the conference I attended last weekend, where it was so easy and unproblematic to be oneself. Papers were very interesting. People had no difficulty understanding me, nor I them, and nobody seemed to think I was too intellectually oriented. I have now written in my journal:

I see why my judgement feels impaired. My department chair is against literature and/but wants it taught in very traditional ways; appears to imagine that anything else is deconstruction which is what drove him from literary studies so wants us to be back to new criticism, stylistics, conservative forms of philology. Then my one colleague in literature is one of those who wants students to memorize his interpretations and repeat them back to him. Then everyone else is either in linguistics because they hate literature, or does not have the Ph.D. and resents not being allowed to teach upper division literature courses for that reason, so wants to prove that what I am doing is “crazy.” This means that EVERYONE is telling the students that what I am doing is crazy. Yet only students who have had me, survive graduate school. And also, what I am doing is not different from what people do on this site and at other universities, although I do do the easier versions of what is done elsewhere. Yet I constantly have this sense of unreality, of poor judgement, and so on, because what I am told is reasonable locally is so different from what is said nationally. I was about to decide the local authorities are right and I am insane, but then a few people from elsewhere suggested I might actually be on a right track.

As I say: I am becoming more whole, but I want to become even more whole. Perhaps I can. It all has to do with having authority and voice; I am not interested in having power over others but I do want power in my own work and life. Furthermore, these things are essential if you are to do professorial work. Yet it became clear to me early on that these were the things one must renounce to survive. This is a deformed attitude and I can see one must shed it to live well.


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