‘‘Mydesk had become a sanctuary, and as long as I continued to sit th
struggling to find the next word, nothing could touch me anymore.
For the first time in all theyears I had been writing, I felt as though I
seemed important. I had stopped questioning myself. I was doing w
I had to do, and I was doing it in the only way that was possible for
Everything else followed from that. It wasn’t that I began to bel
in myself so much as that I was inhabited by a sublime indifferenc
had become interchangeable with my work, and I accepted that w
on its own terms now, understanding that nothing could relieve m
the desire to do it. This was the bedrock epiphany, the illuminatio
which doubt gradually dissolved. Even if my life fell apart, there wo
still be something to live for’’ (Auster , ). While I was work
on the doctoral dissertation on which this book is based, I came ac
these beautiful lines written by Paul Auster in Leviathan. They nicely
capsulate the economyof feelings through which I traveled whilewriting
work: a mix of anxiety and pleasure, a feeling of overcoming obsta
and accomplishing what I struggled for during the last three years.
At the same time, those lines misrepresent the economy of effort
contributed to my dissertation and, later, to this book. This is not
phrasing Auster, I have to admit that, while I ‘‘caught fire’’ writing
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