Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Virginia Woolf on Second hand bookshops

Books are everywhere; and always the same sense of adventure fills us. Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.

A quote from The Death of the Moth and other essays

I like most keen readers like to forage in second hand bookshops. They are great places full of surprises and often serendipitous discoveries.

My favourite second hand bookshop is in Alnwick. I found a pristine first edition of Flush by Woolf there.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bird Watching - a Woolf Perspective

She was becoming more and more interested in birds. It was a sign of old age, she supposed, as she went into her bedroom.
The Years, Virginia Woolf.

I found this fascinating quote today in "The Years". It just popped up without warning.

I have no idea whether she actually became a birdwatcher in latter life. Does anyone know? Just drop a comment on this post.

I'm becoming older but bird watching holds no fascination to me.

I do remember the birds in the garden when I visited Monks House in Sussex. The property had a lovely vegetable garden and the rest of the grounds and orchard are preserved as they were when Virginia and Leonard lived there.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Strewn with Wreckage

“Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.” ― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

Writing is a deeply personal occupation (or preoccupation) that represents an intense engagement with the topic being written about.

You can not write well if you are continually worrying about what others think. Although Woolf gives us this excellent quote she was known to go through periods of self doubt about what others were thinking of her works. The anxiety was most intense just after publication of a new work.

Her writing is genuine and while she worried about opinions after publication she discussed little during the actual writing process except with Leonard Woolf, her husband.

For myself I write what I want, when I want, and to hell with the consequences.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Perfect Gift for a Woolf Lover

Woolf delighted in the physical act of writing words on paper. From the age of 11, she was continually experimenting with different kinds of pens in hope of finding one that would provide the perfect sensation. So what better gift for a Woolf lover than a pen named for her. The pen is the Mont Blanc Limited Edition writers pen dedicated to Virginia Woolf. A tad expensive but I have to get one. Any gifts accepted, I can give you my address!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Virginia Woolf - The Indescribable Thing

Woolf once said that her death would be the “one experience I shall never describe.”

Luckily for us she did of course describe her life. Her powers of observation were well honed and I constantly marvel at the way she crafts words in her descriptions.

In a way though she is speaking to us from beyond the grave, her words live on to inspire new generations.

Death is the last mystery and we all have to wait to see what it is all about - oblivion or a door beyond?

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Virginia Woolf on Illusions

“Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.” ― Virginia Woolf

While we often think that we lose our illusions as we leave childhood, we inevitably replace them with other and often more pernicious illusions. Some physicists would argue that life itself and the reality we experience is just an illusion.

This thought is also echoed by many mystics.

Illusions however are not inherently good or bad but a staple component of human living. Woolf's ability to hold life's illusions to our gaze is valuable and I love the illusory quality of her writing.


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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Virginia Woolf on the Past

“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.” ― Virginia Woolf

This is a very important thought. Retrospection adds the body to our experiences. Emotion is raw at the time we experience it so time must often pass before it is moderated and becomes a thing of beauty. Reflection is a key skill that excellent writers possess.

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