This new series of posts on voice is intended in part to work out some more ideas for my article on writing and “procrastination.” I believe one piece of that text has died on an editor’s desk, and my ideas have moved beyond what I sent out in any case. But if I get a real publication, academic or trade, out of this blog it should perhaps be a book of essays on writing, to counter most of what everyone else has had to say on that. If all the essays are together, it will not matter that each one only expresses a facet of the matter. They will be true essays in that sense, or a bell hooks style book. I could also start publishing academically in that field.
As we know, Reeducation wrought extreme havoc with my voice, sense of self, and access to self. I have had trouble writing for the past three months, ever since I started getting phone calls from the Blackguard — and some exhortations to serve them from a couple of other whitemen, and other exhortations to serve them from a couple of Nice White Ladies. None of these people are important and all of them were new and are gone. I learned a great deal by fighting them off, and also realized that one cannot afford to tolerate any gadflies, no matter how minor, because they are poisonous.
My guilt about the difficulty I was having with concentration and focus — difficulties I now understand fully, but only understood in part three or four months ago — made me realize how guilty I still feel about not having been able to use discipline and time management to write that other book, back then, when I was supposed to write it. And the reason I have such an issue with the time management gurus is that their words of wisdom, which I could have written myself in elementary school, not to mention later on, were all I got thrown back at me when I said that (a) I had serious issues with what the press wanted me to write, and (b) I had no voice, because it had been stolen, and no writing instruments, as I was in jail.
It was not merely a question of getting to work, I said, it was a question of finding out how to rethink and renegotiate that contract, and recover my voice from Reeducation. All people had to say to that were Reeducated statements — I just had “fear of success” and was making excuses. My professional opinions were considered mere neuroses by my friends, of all people.
By contrast I feel merely sad about some other things, decisions I made on my own, things I would have preferred to handle differently. I feel anger and guilt over what I did in the state “soul loss” that was Reeducation. One of the things I did was torture myself to near death over that book. I feel guilt because I neither did it nor decided what to do about that, and anger because I told all my advisors a decision needed to be made and they just said I was panicking. That was a further negation of my professional opinions.
They wanted to see a business question as a temper tantrum, which only shows what their level of development must have been. And Reeducation wanted me to relinquish power not because I was a controlling person wielding power inappropriately but because if I renounced power over my life, Reeducation could dominate me.
So, was I procrastinating? Not at all — I was seeking practical advice on first, renegotiating a contract that needed it, and second, on a business decision that needed to be made sooner rather than later. This was not an appropriate writing project, and I needed one, and to move toward that I needed to dispose of the contract I had.
The answers I got were that I was procrastinating, dawdling, rebelling, and so on, and I should just get on the project I had been assigned. And that was entirely wrong, and that is one more reason why the Twelve Stones and Reeducation were just advanced schooling in accepting verbal abuse.
So perhaps now I can shed my remorse over the issue of that book. I was not procrastinating or blocking, I was being blocked. In my book of essays on this matter I will have to point this out to people and remind them in one more way that it is not just a question of discipline, since block is itself a guide.
I know of myself that when I just try to write through block without calling my true writing voice to the fore, I only write in circles and then shout at myself for that. The key, and this is the thesis of my article, that block is a guide telling you something is wrong and you should change your strategy. And pace all dissertation advisors and senior faculty mentors, changing a strategy is not necessarily procrastination. It can be a result of intellectual maturity, you silly geese!
In any case, it was the allegation that my seeing the necessity of taking strong action was merely “procrastination” — that is to say, that I should call action procrastination — that sent me into a more serious state of soul loss. Once again, I told people I had this problem, and was not believed. And now I see that it was Reeducation, not I, who feared (my) success as a person. So Reeducation, that wily thing, announced that to progress I would have to renounce who I was, which was exactly wrong.
I still have to work these ideas out but I think that the feeling of guilt is a sign and symptom of abuse and soul loss. And one should accept no abuse because it all brings soul loss. And if one is not to tolerate abuse, one must know what it is and have specific techniques for pushing back.
Also: I reiterate what I said before, namely that another fallacy in the Nice White Lady’s theory that you should stay in one abusive relationship long enough to get you immunized against all others is that if you are in one abusive relationship, then all your relationships will become abusive — as you are steered away from your true friends and towards other people who are not that.
In a flash, though, I do understand the NWL theory in one way. It may apply to people who are really damaged and weak, drug addicts or something, those girls who get “passed around” and abused; I suppose that if they get into a stable abusive relationship that is not life threatening, then they can go to treatment and slowly get better and strong enough to leave and not move right in with another abusive man.
But the key for everyone is knowing what abuse is and how to counter it, and trusting yourself more and more and getting more confident. It is not saying that there is something wrong with you which “attracted” all of that. Because even if you do have weakenesses, it is taking hold of your strengths, adding to them, and expanding the territory they inhabit in you that works to counter it.