Friday, April 29, 2011

Reading Virginia Woolf's A Writer's Diary

I feel I am bursting with words right now. They are everywhere; I can sense them flooding the landscape; they are monsters, little devils all seeking to come out of the system the same time. The deluge is the result of reading Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary. This morning I started reading this extraordinary  assortment of entries from Virginia Woolf’s journals collected and published by her husband, Leonard Woolf, after her death. The preface itself is wonderful. I found Leonard Woolf’s professional, forcefully editorial tone slightly bedewed with stray drops of love that occasionally stains the white page of his mind. I feel the formality is somewhat lovingly broken when he talks about the patterned Italian paper covered copies his wife used as her journals and other details about her writing life.

I have never considered myself a Woolfian by any means; I have often found her work rather un-entertaining, albeit beautifully written. Her stream-of-consciousness method, her experimentations with style and technique have undoubtedly amazed me, but I have never been a moth attracted to her “luminous halo”. She has always struck me as an extraordinary writer, but not a lovable creature. I never adored her, until now.

Entranced, I read page after page of her daily thoughts — mundane details, her dread of criticism; her occasional hatred for the works of certain writers, notably one story of Katherine Mansfield, which she thought was a poor effort totally undeserved of praise or the patience of a reader; her comparing her success to that of other authors; her belaboring on the literary triumph issue; her vacillations; her depressive ramblings — and I feel that this Virginia Woolf is more human than the person next door. She is flesh and blood, warm and human.

I must say this book is gradually eating away the effects of the books that I finished reading in the recent past; my careful thoughts preserved after reading these quondam tomes have all but gone. I am like a bowl of water bubbling with love for this somewhat obsessive compulsive, lovely-profiled lady. I wish I could time travel and meet this woman for tea sometime and watch her moves, notice her noticing objects, sounds, motions.

I wish I could read the whole book today; it is nearly four hundred pages and I am dwelling on the seventy-fifth—having taken more time than needed for lunch and other daily chores. Anyway, the book is working as an anodyne, my otherwise wavering mind is calm and interested. I haven’t stirred much since five in the evening and hope to finish at least a hundred pages today.

Monday, April 18, 2011



Blue, blue,  corybrantic blue

Majestic, boundless faded watchet hue,

Unleash the spring, unchain the devil,

Raise me up, feed me to the evil.

Blue, blue, deep sea-blue

Sighing, breathing labile vertu,

Speak to me in whispers, speak to me in shouts,

Bring to me the fire, bring to me your bouts,

Blue, blue, cruel, sunny-blue,

Reckless, temerous, in sapphire pareu,

Spell me life, speak of doom,

Break the nox, set life abloom,

Blue, blue, omniscient, nihiliscent blue,

My paramour, my love, my death-bearing beau,

Bring to me the end, let me your blue defy,

Show me the world and in your blue let me die.