The Yellow Notebook
Death again. Death come out of her novel and into her life. And yet death in the form of energy, for this man works like a madman, out of a furious angry compassion, this man who says he wishes he were dead never rests from work for the helpless.
It is as if this novel were already written and I were reading it. And now I see it whole I see another theme, of which I was not conscious when I began it. The theme is, naïvety. From the moment Ella meets Paul and loves him, from the moment she uses the word love, there is the birth of naïvety.
And so now, looking back at my relationship with Michael (I used the name of my real lover for Ella’s fictitious son with the small overeager smile with which a patient offers an analyst evidence he has been waiting for but which the patient is convinced is irrelevant), I see above all my naïvety. Any intelligent person could have foreseen the end of this affair from its beginning. And yet I, Anna, like Ella with Paul, refused to see it. Paul gave birth to Ella, the naïve Ella. He destroyed in her the knowing, doubting, sophisticated Ella and again and again he put her intelligence to sleep, and with her willing connivance, so that she floated darkly on her love for him, on her naïvety, which is another word for a spontaneous creative faith. And when his own distrust of himself destroyed this woman-in-love, so that she began thinking, she would fight to return to naïvety.
Now, when I am drawn to a man, I can assess the depth of a possible relationship with him by the degree to which the naïve Anna is recreated in me.
Sometimes when I, Anna, look back, I want to laugh out loud. It is the appalled, envious laughter of knowledge at innocence. I would be incapable now of such trust. I, Anna, would never begin an affair with Paul. Or Michael. Or rather, I would begin an affair, just that, knowing exactly what would happen; I would begin a deliberately barren, limited relationship.
What Ella lost during those five years was the power to create through naïvety.