The Close-to-Complete Diary of Harriet Rubin: Excerpt 3: Going All the Way (or trying to)
BY Harriet Rubin
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
Friday, February 6. 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?