Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Woolf

I have begun researching Virginia Woolf since seeing The Hours. I'm not exactly sure why; well, perhaps in part I know why. She wrote all her life and our lives, hers and mine, seem to have a few similarities, and quite a few differences. The more I am finding out about her the more I am trying to decide if I would like her as a person.

With Emily Dickenson I can say, yes, I would probably like her as a person. With Charles Dickens I can likewise say I would like him as a person, but there is something about Virginia Woolf I cannot quite put my finger on that holds me back from saying this.

She was born in the latter portion of the Victorian era and wrote from the age of 3 on (so have I). She suffered from manic depression possibly, at the very least depression and "a nervous constitution" on occasion and "lapses of sanity" which, when you look at them makes me wonder if she really did or was she so fed up with the world she just let go and was perceived as being insane by the time in which she lived? This I will have to research some more. She challenged the norm for women writers and was part of the (in)famouse Bloomsbury Group, which she seems to have been a ring-leader of.

The part that is truly causing me to take point and stop, look at her more closely, is her flipancy and her callousness toward people she considered "friends". The Bloomsbury Group actually enjoyed insulting one another and trying to bring each other down. I have been unfortunate enough to have been on the outer edges of such a group and, like the Bloomsbury Group, if you did not show your wit in defending yourself you were not admitted within the group. Whether it was fortuitous or not, I was admitted into the group and always had to watch my back and listen to the words spoken to make certain I did not miss a double meaning and be ready for a come-back and be ready to insult someone else. It was not a pleasant place to be, luckily I am free of it now and the people I care most for are likewise free of it. The Bloomsbury Group were like this from everything I have read so far.

In discovering this about them it has lowered my estimation of these wonderful writers somewhat. The works of art are magnificient, but what of these peoples' lives? How sad were they really? It makes me wonder. It makes me want to find out so much more about them ... almost.

Even though I think there might be something unsatisfactory in Virginia Woolf herself, I can't help but feel drawn to her, as if there is something akin between us. Sometimes I feel, if I let myself, I can genuinely understand her darkness and that frightens me. Perhaps this is what is causing me such problems. The closeness of darkness between us. It is time to go on and finish my research and see what turns up; at this point in time all I'm doing is merely working on half information which leads to ill-formed conclusions.

If, then I am seeing similarities between us, does this mean I might not be liking something in myself?

Hesitantly I would have to answer .... Yes.

1 comment:

Alex said...

I think that you are just realizing that none of us are cardboard characters. It has been my observation that most writers that are percieved as "successful" have had a series of "challenges" that have either "revealed" themselves / human nature or allowed them to truly examine how that "event" ultimately came to pass in terms of steps of a drama and "character" development which is always the basis of a "hot" story. In other words a writer has to be a little "off the wall"!! I'm too lazy to go back to your "Thunder" story for comment so I should just like to say without disturbing / challenging your beliefs that God is listening for you to start a conversation with him / her.