chaste kiss

February 10, 2020

But come, dearest creature — I will — give you one chaste kiss.

Virginia Woolf
November 1926 letter to Vita Sackville-West

words like nets

January 2, 2020

‘Haunted!’ she cried, suddenly pressing the accelerator. ‘Haunted, ever since I was a child. There flies the wild goose. It flies past the window out to sea. Up I jumped (she gripped the steering-wheel tighter) and stretched after it. But the goose flies too fast. I’ve seen it, here – there – there – England, Persia, Italy. Always it flies fast out to sea and always I fling after it words like nets (and here she flung her hand out) which shrivel as I’ve seen nets shrivel with only sea-weed in them; and sometimes there’s an inch of silver – six words – at bottom of the net. But never the great fish who lives in the coral-groves.’

Virginia Woolf
Orlando

November Nights

November 14, 2019

Cold November nights, poignant sensations, deep, resonant silence.

Virginia Woolf
Diary entry November 1940

adored

August 22, 2019

She was born to be the adored of poets

Virginia Woolf
The Waves

magic world

August 10, 2019

I want to raise up the magic world all round me and live strongly and quietly there.

Virginia Woolf
Diary entry February 1934

For [Virginia] Woolf, getting lost was not a matter of geography so much as identity, a passionate desire, even an urgent need, to become no one and anyone, to shake off the shackles that remind you who you are, who others think you are. This dissolution of identity is familiar to travellers in foreign places and remote fastnesses, but Woolf, with her acute perception of the nuances of consciousness, could find it in a stroll down the street, a moment’s solitude in an armchair. Woolf was not a romantic, not a celebrant of that getting lost that is erotic love, in which the beloved becomes an invitation to become who you secretly, dormantly, like a locust underground waiting for the seventeen-year call, already are in hiding, that love for the other that is also a desire to reside in your own mystery in the mystery of others. Her getting lost was solitary, like Thoreau’s.

Rebecca Solnit
Open Door, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

the depths of the world

February 12, 2019

My roots go down to the depths of the world, through earth dry with brick, and damp earth, through veins of lead and silver. I am all fibre. All tremors shake me, and the weight of the earth is pressed to my ribs.

Virginia Woolf
The Waves

most poetic

January 29, 2019

The most ordinary conversation is often the most poetic, and the most poetic is precisely that which cannot be written down.

Virginia Woolf
Orlando

something has grown in me

January 17, 2019

The next morning I shall get up at dawn. I shall let myself out by the kitchen door. I shall walk on the moor. I shall see the swallow skim the grass. I shall throw myself on a bank by the river and watch the fish slip in and out among the reeds. The palms of my hands will be printed with pine-needles. I shall there unfold and take out whatever it is I have made here; something hard. For something has grown in me here, through the winters and summers, on staircases, in bedrooms. Then my freedom will unfurl, and all these restrictions that wrinkle and shrivel–hours and order and discipline, and being here and there exactly at the right moment – will crack asunder.

Virginia Woolf
The Waves

Rain

January 3, 2019

A wet day. And I am glad of the rain, because I have talked too much.

Virginia Woolf
diary entry May 1929