Monday, April 20, 2015

Capacious Diary: April 20, 2015

Woolf's writing desk in the studio, Monk's House garden

I believe that during the past year I can trace some increase of ease in my professional writing which I attribute to my casual half hours after tea.  Moreover there looms ahead of me the shadow of some kind of form which a diary might attain to.  I might in the course of time learn what form it is that one can make of this loose, drifting material of life; finding another use for it than the use I put it to, so much more consciously & scrupulously, in fiction.  What sort of diary should I like mine to be?  Something loose knit, & yet not slovenly so elastic that it will embrace any thing, solemn, slight or beautiful that comes into my mind.  I should like it to resemble some deep old desk, or capacious holdall, in which one flings a mass of odds & ends without looking them through. I should like to come back after a year of two, & find that the collection had sorted itself & refined itself & coalesced, as such deposits mysterious do, into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, & steady tranquil composed with the aloofness of a work of art.

 Diary of Virginia Woolf
April 20, 1919 (D1 266)

Here is a link to photo of Woolf's Writing desk, painted by her nephew Quentin Bell:

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