Reading through Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary, published by her husband, Leonard Woolf, can be likened to trying to put a 10,000 piece 3D puzzle together while blindfolded. And then, just when I’m hopelessly lost, her voice comes through with such intense clarity and insight I am left breathless.
I was simultaneously reluctant and desperate to read through this publication. Mr. Woolf supplies a Preface in which he admits to extracting items too personal for sharing … still, there are passages within that are painfully personal — passages that maybe only a writer would recognize as painfully personal.
Often, the author puts into her own words the struggle over THAT question: Why write? Why, indeed. Like so many, when she left the question alone and just did the thing, magic happened. When she obsessed over it, picked at it … the thundering silence, the lack of no real answer supplied by a trusted source affected her like a crippling disease.
The question of how … well, Virginia Woolf wrestled that out of her soul, spirit, and intellect on a daily basis.
The quoted line above is extracted from the days she wrote about working on Mrs. Dalloway. Woolf had embarked upon what she called her “quick change theory”, managing multiple projects at once that included reading classic literature, writing critiques, and penning a novel. Her days, during this time, were made of a rigorous routine of her own design.
Tell me what it’s like when you become “merely a sensibility”.