The Close-to-Complete Diary of Harriet Rubin: Excerpt 3: Going All the Way (or trying to)
In earlier diary excerpts, Rubin talks about making the leap into independent consulting after a long career as an editor at Doubleday. Here, she details her struggles in finding the strength to cut the final cords.
Please note: This is the raw text of a personal diary. It has not been edited for accuracy of dates or facts. Read Rubin's introduction to her diary.
February 5, 1998: New York City.
A chicken-with-broccoli-and-cold-sesame-noodles emergency
Home sweet home. English language. Seven-digit dialing. Chinese home delivery. Life at its best is simple. Sometimes it takes sickness to reveal this. Sometimes just travel.
I'm not even jet-lagged. I'm too excited by the basic Davos lessons.
1. I have to start an active mailing list. Keep in touch with people, even people I didn't "mate" with for life. Acquaintances in the network of ideas are just as important as new-found friends.
2. Remember how important it is to boost your horizon, even more than your ambitions. I've decided I can't limit myself to writing about business, for business. My subject is bigger: grace, genius. I will seek out Tutu, and write about him. I will seek out Mandela. I need to keep the Alps and Davos firmly in mind.
3. Learn a new language. I will immerse myself in a new vocabulary: history. I need to keep upping the ante. It frees me from the habits of psychologizing everything. It gives me a new set of eyes on business and the bigger world.
As a reminder, I will paste a postcard of the Alps over my desk.
Books to read:
- Anything on Eisenhower, called by Gingrich the most unfairly forgotten pres in history
- Jonathan Weiner, The Beak of the Finch
- Thomas Mann essays
- Isaiah Berlin on the Russian Thinkers
- Einstein bio
Please be nice to me, I'm mad as hell
Just saw Paul Monette documentary. Cried like a fiend on my way out. Monette was a homosexual and writer, in the closet for half his life. I've been in the closet for longer than that. My closet is business. I'm a woman and treated like a fag by the guys in charge. Just this morning the BoA director who'd sent me a contract for the speech got cold feet. She wouldn't take my references' word about how good I am as a speaker; she saw the recent issue of Fast Company and thinks the coverage I got means I "have an 'in' at the magazine." Would anyone say that about a man? Would anyone damn a guy for his success? Damn BoA, and damn business. It is a stupid pursuit. Why am I writing about statesmen and leaders who follow their dream? Why don't I abandon all pretense and follow my own dreams, and stop trying for acceptance in a world where I will always be an outsider?
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