My conference is in a couple of days, and I'm blocked. Not about this, perhaps thinking too much about the future, now that I manged to leave my past behind. Probably I will have to go to Berlin in June (if it doesn't wait till September); they are potentially interested in me as a specialist in Lusophone Africa. This is what I asked, but now I'm reading Ngugi wa Thiong'o and seeing movies about Cecil Rhodes, trying to imagine how soon I might come to hate being an Africanist, to find it limiting. Will I?
And if not an Africanist, then? Yes, Amsterdam, my first choice, and persevering in my theoretical work. I should apply for the ERC grant; it would give me my first choice.
I can say very easily this is our tradition, having Netherlands in mind, and not the same way about saying this is our tradition, having Germany in mind. Even if it's true about more than just the Christmas tree. I've been seeing a Dutch program on Amazigh origins and history. Those people came to the Netherlands during the persecutions of Hassan II, most of them in the eighties, I presume. But the Dutch journalist was making this program with such a quiet persuasion he was working out our history. Somehow I share this concept of history, Willem van Oranje, nootmuskaat and the VOC included in the package. I miss it, even now, as my true homeland. An apartment in Amsterdam would cost me twice as much as an apartment in Berlin. There is enormous speculation going on; with all the Saudis moving in, the market is literally bursting with ready money. But if I could get my Finland, or the ERC, or whatever, I would pay the price only too gladly.
I spent nearly four days (sic!) on taking distance to Poland, on rewriting my Autobiographical Essay, on removing pages from my private diary. I put all the e-mails from Poland in a separate file and removed them from my view. The distance grows. But it is a big work, taking an amount of time I didn't really foreseen. To close these twenty years. It was a quarter of a century, in a way. A quarter of a century.
This means making space for something else, something new. I'm in the process of change that after all so few people ever manage to achieve. The illusive change that psychologists and coaches sell for a lot of money to people who would like to become more than they are.
Yes indeed, it is a thrilling experience. For the void it creates. Now I walk through the three rooms of my French apartment like a wolf in a cage. Contemplating emptiness. I threw some of the old clothes I brought for Poland to finish them up. In general, after last year in Portugal and this year in France, I have very few clothes left. It is symbolic of cause, but it is how I make my change, by those everyday symbols, using all kinds of simple psychological tools. To show to myself everything is different now. Because I'm crossing a desert. Speaking about a quarter of a century. It is amazing indeed how much some clothes can endure. I've been contemplating a certain jacket in good wool that I'd bought in Lisbon probably when I was making my PhD, if not earlier. It must be with me for a quarter of a century. I remember it was with me the first day when I went to Kraków, the first day when I got my job at the Jagiellonian University. It is a good wool indeed, it is still a good jacket to wear. But I'm haunted by the smell of old clothes, as if I was an old lady, belonging to the past. Or a kind of chrysalis.
I'm ready to change the key words of my research, too. Transcultural humanities is something that had been, needing replacement. Eremos needs replacement, modification; it needs to be made better. I think it will take me these two months at least, a great revision, and making projects. Anyway I need to submit several proposals before the summer, so this mood comes in the right moment.
New habits are with me, like a kind of obsession of order. Diminishing the number of things that are with me, also intellectually. Making books rather than a mass of spare articles. Consolidating.