Sunday, May 9, 2010

--For she was there.

(obligatory BlackBerry shot)

One of my "summer" books from last year was finally completed yesterday afternoon. I sat outside with my copy, looking at the flowers and sometimes reading aloud to both Buttercup and the sun.

It was an experience.

My Virginia Woolf "trick:" Don't stop! Keep going. I had put the book down one day last year, left it alone and when I came back I couldn't "get" into the right frame of mind again.

Stream of Consciousness as a narrative mode gives great insight to each character, but once you "lose" the train of thought, it's hard to hop back on (so to speak). Where was I? All I can imagine now is a train. Oh yeah. So the internal monologue aspect of this "writing style" is effective even if it can get confusing.

It has scared me away from Faulkner--(and Woolf, actually--at least for a very long time).

I would like to add Mrs. Dalloway to a special list though: "Don't Read This or You Might Jump"...I need to think about other books to "add."

So I also had a pencil with me, to mark lines and make marginal notes. I underlined many sentences and alone they don't seem to be as remarkable, or maybe they I am going to make paragraphs for you--IN the order they appear in the book, but together:

He had never to this day forgiven her for liking him. The crush was terrific for the time of day. When the sentence was finished something had happened. But they beckoned; leaves were alive; trees were alive. The spaces between them were as significant as the sounds. To love makes one solitary, she thought. Her words faded. Change the world. No one kills from hatred. Make it known (he wrote it down). He waited. He listened. She heard the click of the typewriter. It was over – the moment.

She had rushed off in passion. Read Plato in bed before breakfast; read Morris; read Shelley by the hour. Indeed she did shock people. No, the words meant absolutely nothing to her now. She could not even get an echo of her old emotion. But nothing is so strange when one is in love (and what was this except being love?) as the complete indifference of other people. The whole world might have turned upside down! “Star-gazing?”

She stood there: she listened. She heard the name of the stars. Fear no more, says the heart. She moved; she crossed; he followed her. Such are the visions…They had always this queer power of communication without words. She knew directly he criticized her.It was the way their quarrels often began. She shut the door. He had twenty minutes of perfect happiness…And in a second it was over. She did not move.

"Tell me the truth, tell me the truth,” he kept on saying. He felt as if his forehead would burst. She seemed contracted, petrified. She did not move. “Tell me the truth,” he repeated. And when she said, “It’s no use. It’s no use. This is the end.” He went away that night. He never saw her again. He knew all their thoughts, he said; he knew everything. He knew the meaning of the world, he said.

Could it be that he was in love with her then, remembering the misery, the torture, the extraordinary passion of those days? It was jealously that was at the bottom of it—jealous which survives every other passion of mankind. But she had to write. Love and religion! How detestable, how detestable they are! Love destroyed too. Everything that was fine, everything that was true went.

Virginia Woolf


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