25 January 2006


But if you hold a blunt blade to a grindstone long enough, something spurts--a jagged edge of fire; so held to lack of reason, aimlessness, the usual, all massed together, out spurted in one flame hatred, contempt. I took my mind, my being, the old dejected, almost inanimate object and lashed it about among these odds and ends, sticks and straws, detestable little bits of wreckage, flotsam and jetsam, floating on the oily surface. I jumped up, I said, "Fight". "Fight", I repeated. It is the effort and the struggle, it is the perpetual warfare, it is the shattering and piecing together--this is the daily battle, defeat or victory, the absorbing pursuit. The trees, scattered, put on order; the thick green of the leaves thinned itself to a dancing light. I netted them under with a sudden phrase. I retrieved them from formlessness with words.
~ Bernard in The Waves by Virginia Woolf, born on this day in 1882

For more thoughtful posts about Virginia, see this, this, and that. I'm looking forward to reading Anne Fernald's forthcoming book on Virginia--Feminist, Reader, Woolf--which will "offer a feminist theory of literary influence."

1 comment:

Anne said...

Thanks for all of that!

Oddly enough, it's my mom's birthday too. A little freaky, eh?

Happy birthday to them both! Cheers!