The Blue Notebook
[At this point Anna had drawn a heavy black line across the page. After it she had written:]
I drew that line because I didn’t want to write it. As if writing about it sucks me even further into danger. Yet I have to hold fast to this — that Anna, the thinking Anna, can look at what Anna feels and ‘name’ it.
What is happening is something new in my life. I think many people have a sense of shape, of unfolding, in their lives. This sense makes it possible for them to say: Yes, this new person is important to me: he, or she, is the beginning of something I must live through. Or: This emotion, which I have not felt before, is not the alien I believed it to be. It will now be part of me and I must deal with it.
It is easy now, looking back over my life to say: That Anna, in that time, was such and such a person. And then, five years later, she was such and such. A year, two years, five years of a certain kind of being can be rolled up and tucked away, or ‘named’ — yes, during that time I was like that. Well now I am in the middle of such a period, and when it is over I shall glance back at it casually and say: Yes, that’s what I was. I was a woman terribly vulnerable, critical, using femaleness as a sort of standard or yardstick to measure and discard men. Yes — something like that. I was an Anna who invited defeat from men without even being conscious of it. (But I am conscious of it. And being conscious of it means I shall leave it all behind me and become — but what?) I was stuck fast in an emotion common to women of our time, that can turn them bitter, or Lesbian, or solitary. Yes, that Anna, during that time was …
[Another black line across the page:]
About three weeks ago I went to a political meeting. This one was informal, at Molly’s house. Comrade Harry, one of the top academics in the CP, recently went to Russia, to find out, as a Jew, what had happened to the Jews in the ‘black years’ before Stalin died. He fought the communist brass to go at all; they tried to stop him. He used threats that if they would not let him go, would not help him. he would publicize the fact. He went; came back with terrible information; they did not want any of it made known. His argument the usual one from the ‘intellectuals’ of this time: just for once the Communist Party should admit and explain what everyone knew to be true. Their argument, the old argument of the communist bureaucracy — solidarity with the Soviet Union at all cost, which means admitting as little as possible. They agreed to publish a limited report, leaving out the worst of the horrors. He has been conducting a series of meetings for communists and ex-communists in which he has been speaking about what he discovered. Now the brass are furious, and are threatening him with expulsion; threatening members who go to his meetings with expulsion. He is going to resign.