Although I missed the first day of it because of having to finish up some things in Maringouin, I spent all of yesterday at this brilliant symposium, which I knew about from the Spanish Professor and when I was asked to stay at home and do even more things for Vichy State was convinced to go ahead with my original plan, anyway, by Dame Eleanor Hull. (Blogging is clearly good for research.) The event exceeded expectations and Rice University is my favorite university until further notice.
Then I met these people who were quite fascinating, and went to the Magritte and Bontecou exhibits at the Menil Collection, and now I am at the Agora which is massively hip café.
It is quite amazing how quickly one can transform. I can even see why people might say we are in the best profession in the world, if they work at a high level and in luxurious surrounding like all of these. I also feel completely normal and lucid. In New Orleans I feel love and nostalgia and regret, and in Maringouin I tend to wish I had access to morphine, but in Houston I feel I am in the present and in reality and above sea level and in the West and in civilization and at home.
At the symposium I heard a senior professor tell some graduate students to “take a job, any job,” and saw them roll their eyes. This is a good sign. Meanwhile in Reeducation, we were required to “admit” that we were nothing more than the worst thing that had happened to us and accept that this must still define us; that was what turned me into the quivering being I became.
Ideas to cast off today:
I am not the person hoped for and the authorities want to get rid of me, but cannot since nobody else would be able to tolerate me. They are therefore putting up with me, but I must conform as closely as possible to whatever they want, do whatever they require. I will never be employable and nobody will ever love me, but in school eventually I will find someone willing to support me. Meanwhile, if I am perfectly good all the time I will not be put out on the street, where I will learn what true cruelty is. Any false step and I will be on the street, and I will be killed or die on the street.
It was like that to be a child but was no longer once one grew up. Yet it is how Reeducation thought I should still feel. Here it seems faraway and utterly silly, but it is in fact how I feel in Maringouin. I hope that by writing them down and crossing them out I can cast these sentences off, sentences that stuck because they were always presented as
“the real truth, the truth we should not tell, but the real truth.”