Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Last moment of June: June 30, 2015

For heaven only knows why one loves it so, how one sees it so, making it up, building it round one, tumbling it, creating it every moment afresh. . .  In people's eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; London; this moment of June.

(MD 4)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Total Eclipse of the Heart: June 29, 2015

So the light turned and heeled over and went out.  This was the end.  The flesh and blood of the world was dead and only the skeleton was left.  It hung beneath us, frail; brown; dead; withered.  Then, with some trifling movement, this profound obeisance of light, this stooping down and abasement of all splendour was over.  Lightly, on the other side of the world up it rose; it sprang up as if the one movement, after a second's tremulous pause, completed the other and the light which had died here, rose again elsewhere.  Never was there such a sense of rejuvenescence and recovery.  All the convalescences and respite of life seemed rolled into one.  Yet at first, so pale and frail and strange the light was sprinkled rainbow-like in a hoop of colour, that it seemed as if the earth could never live decked out in such frail tints.  It hung beneath us, like a cage, like a hoop, like a globe of glass.

"The Sun and the Fish" (E4 522)

On June 29, 1927, Woolf traveled to Yorkshire with Vita Sackville-West to see the total eclipse of the sun

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cottage Longing: June 27, 2015

Cottage Garden at Steeple Ashton

Cottages are to be had—yes,” she replied. “The question is—” She checked herself. “Two rooms are all I should want,” she continued, with a curious sigh; “one for eating, one for sleeping. Oh, but I should like another, a large one at the top, and a little garden where one could grow flowers. A path — so — down to a river, or up to a wood, and the sea not very far off, so that one could hear the waves at night. Ships just vanishing on the horizon—”   

Night and Day 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Green: June 26, 2015

Georgia O'Keeffe "Music Blue and Green"  1919-21

THE PORTED fingers of glass hang downwards. The light slides down the glass, and drops a pool of green. All day long the ten fingers of the lustre drop green upon the marble. The feathers of parakeets—their harsh cries—sharp blades of palm trees—green, too; green needles glittering in the sun. But the hard glass drips on to the marble; the pools hover above the dessert sand; the camels lurch through them; the pools settle on the marble; rushes edge them; weeds clog them; here and there a white blossom; the frog flops over; at night the stars are set there unbroken. Evening comes, and the shadow sweeps the green over the mantelpiece; the ruffled surface of ocean. No ships come; the aimless waves sway beneath the empty sky. It’s night; the needles drip blots of blue. The green’s out.

CSF (142)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Blue: June 25, 2015

Blue and Green -- Color Reduction Woodcut (2003)

The snub-nosed monster rises to the surface and spouts through his blunt nostrils two columns of water, which, fiery-white in the centre, spray off into a fringe of blue beads. Strokes of blue line the black tarpaulin of his hide. Slushing the water through mouth and nostrils he sings, heavy with water, and the blue closes over him dowsing the polished pebbles of his eyes. Thrown upon the beach he lies, blunt, obtuse, shedding dry blue scales. Their metallic blue stains the rusty iron on the beach. Blue are the ribs of the wrecked rowing boat. A wave rolls beneath the blue bells. But the cathedral’s different, cold, incense laden, faint blue with the veils of madonnas.
(CSF 142)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Closed Sqaures: June 24, 2015

Mecklenburgh Square Gardens, still private
Some fortunate people during this hot summer have found a moment's respite under the shade of the trees in one of the London squares.  Many of them will leave town in August and September; but the gates will remain locked and the gardens unused.  The sensible and humane suggestion is now made that the squares should be open during August, and perhaps part of July and September, to some of those who would otherwise have no place to walk or sit but in the streets.

Letter to the New Statesman and Nation, 24 June  1933.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dressing for Garsington: June 23, 2015

3rd run of color-reduction woodcut: Woolf at Garsington
June 23, 1919

 If I hadn’t had since midday to settle myself, I should still be twanging & twittering with Garsington.  But parties don’t fluster me as they used.  I don’t much care now about the great question of hair, & doing up dresses; I am resigned to my station among the badly dressed . . . . Why am I calm and indifferent as to what people say of Night & Day, and fretful for their good opinion of my blue dress? 

(D1 284)

(Diary entry on returning from a weekend spent at Garsington, Lady Ottoline Morrell's Oxford home)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mollusk Cathedral: June 22, 2015

Photo by Josh Schaffer
Perhaps it was a snail shell, rising in the grass like a grey cathedral, a swelling building burnt with dark rings and shadowed green by the grass”  
 (TW 52).

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Mrs Dalloway Day: June 21, 2015

There were flowers: delphiniums, sweet peas, bunches of lilac; and carnations, masses of carnations. There were roses; there were irises.  Ah yes -- so she breathed in the earthy garden sweet smell
(MD 13)
Lilies, tulips, forget-me-nots, delphiniums, roses, freesia, peonies, hydrangea

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Stella White: June 20, 2015

June 20, 1939.  I was thinking as I crossed the Channel last night of Stella. . . . She was lovely too, in a far vaguer, less perfect way than my mother. She reminded me always of those large white flowers – elder blossom, cow parsley, that one sees in the fields in June.   Perhaps my mother’s laughing nickname – ‘Old Cow’—suggests the cow parsley.  Or again, a white faint moon in a blue sky suggests her. Or those large white roses that have many petals and are semi-transparent.   

“A Sketch of the Past” 
(MOB 95, 97) 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Juneteenth 2015

A meat axe with human hair on it had been found in a cellar. Mr justice ---- commented in the Divorce Courts upon the Shamelessness of Women. Sprinkled about the paper were other pieces of news. A film actress had been lowered from a peak in California and hung suspended in mid-air. The weather was going to be foggy. The most transient visitor to this planet, I thought, who picked up this paper could not fail to be aware, even from this scattered testimony, that England is under the rule of a patriarchy. Nobody in their senses could fail to detect the dominance of the professor. His was the power and the money and the influence. He was the proprietor of the paper and its editor and sub-editor. He was the Foreign Secretary and the judge. He was the cricketer; he owned the racehorses and the yachts. He Was the director of the company that pays two hundred per cent to its shareholders. He left millions to charities and colleges that were ruled by himself. He suspended the film actress in mid-air. He will decide if the hair on the meat axe is human; he it is who will acquit or convict the murderer, and hang him, or let him go free. With the exception of the fog he seemed to control everything. Yet he was angry.

A Room of One’s Own (33-4)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chanting The Waste Land: June 18, 2015

Tom and Ginny-- Digital composition later rendered as solarplate

Eliot dined last Sunday [June 18] and read his poem.  He sang it & chanted it rhythmed it.  It has great beauty & force of phrase: symmetry; & tensity.  What connects it together, I'm not sure.  But he read till he had to rush -- letters to write about the London Magazine -- & discussion was curtailed.  One was left, however, with some strong emotion,  The Waste Land, it is called; & Mary Hutch, who has heard it more quietly, interprets it to be Tom's autobiography -- a melancholy one.

June 23, 1919
(D2 178)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Elizabethan Roses: June 17, 2015

The age was the Elizabethan; their morals were not ours; nor their poets; nor their climate; nor their vegetables even. Everything was different. The weather itself, the heat and cold of summer and winter, was, we may believe, of another temper altogether. The brilliant amorous day was divided as sheerly from the night as land from water. Sunsets were redder and more intense; dawns were whiter and more auroral. Of our crepuscular half-lights and lingering twilights they knew nothing. The rain fell vehemently, or not at all. The sun blazed or there was darkness. Translating this to the spiritual regions as their wont is, the poets sang beautifully how roses fade and petals fall. The moment is brief they sang; the moment is over; one long night is then to be slept by all. As for using the artifices of the greenhouse or conservatory to prolong or preserve these fresh pinks and roses, that was not their way. The withered intricacies and ambiguities of our more gradual and doubtful age were unknown to them. Violence was all. The flower bloomed and faded. The sun rose and sank. The lover loved and went. And what the poets said in rhyme, the young translated into practice. Girls were roses, and their seasons were short as the flowers'. Plucked they must be before nightfall; for the day was brief and the day was all.

Orlando (20-21)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Laburnum: June 16, 2015

Laburnum and Copper Beech in Gordon Square
The rain fell steadily all night long, making a faint mist over the fields, chuckling and burbling in the gutters.  In gardens it fell over flowering bushes of lilac and laburnum.  It slipped gently over the leaden domes of libraries, and splayed out of the laughing mouths of gargoyles.  . . .  And in the garden of the Lodge outside Kitty's window it sluiced the ancient tree under which Kings and poets had sat drinking three centuries ago, but now it was half fallen and had to be propped up by a stake in the middle.

The Years (59-60)  
The "Alice" tree, Christ Church, Oxford

Monday, June 15, 2015

Still Roses: June 15, 2015

Roses at St. Paul's by Paula Maggio
Let us examine the rose.  We have seen it so often flowering in bowls, connected it so often with beauty in its prime, that we have forgotten how it stands, still and steady, through an entire afternoon in the earth.  It preserves a demeanour of perfect dignity and self-possession.  The suffusion of its petals is of inimitable rightness.  Now perhaps one deliberately falls; now all the flowers, the voluptuous purple, the creamy in whose waxen flesh the spoon has left a swirl of cherry juice. . . . There they stand; and it is of these, the stillest, the most self-sufficient of all things that human beings have made companions.
(OBI 14-5)

June 15, 1930 
Woolf was setting type for "On Being Ill" 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Boiling June: June 14, 2015

Boiling again.  Perfectly breezeless, & the sky blue & misty with the heat. . . We struggled out into the garden & sat upon chairs, hoping that it was cooler than the house.  
London, June 13, 1897 (PA 99)
Chairs in Kensington Gardens 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Nocturnal Hyacinths; June 13, 2015

Now most young women of our way of life have specialized in this branch of learning.  Their  evenings are more important to them than their mornings. -- indeed I find it hard to conceive of them in the morning.  Do they in truth exist before the clock strikes eight?  My private belief is that the dinner bell calls them into existence -- they spring up all over the drawing room like hyacinths in June.  By daybreak they are faded -- a little crumpled perhaps -- never mind -- they fold themselves to sleep -- to wake once more when the sun is set.

"Thoughts Upon Social Success" (1903)
(PA 167-8)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Flirting Chesnuts: June 12, 2015

"The chestnuts have flirted their fans.”  

 Jacob’s Room (130)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Flattery will get you Peonies: June 11, 2015

I don't care how thickly I flatter old gentlemen if they will give me peonies -- I suppose I might be wandering by, see them over the garden wall, and ask to be allowed to look closer -- would that be a good opening?  Or will you take me to tea there, and pretend that I want to buy a house in Montlake -- then accidentally, I might look out of the window and exclaim Peonies! etc etc.  It lends itself to many variations.

Letter to Saxon Sydney-Turner
June 11, 1919 ( L2 366)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Park in June: June 10, 2015

Buckingham Palace from St. James Park
It was June.  The King and Queen were at the Palace. . . . But how strange, on entering the Park, the silence; the mist; the hum; the slow-swimming happy ducks; the pouched birds waddling; and who should be coming along with his back against the Government buildings, most appropriately, carrying a despatch box stamped with the Royal Arms, who but Hugh Whitbread; her old friend Hugh--the admirable Hugh!

Mrs. Dalloway (25)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Round House: June 9, 2015

Off I went, up Pipes Passage, under the clock, & saw rising at the top of the sloping path a singular shaped roof, rising into a point, & spreading into a circular petticoat all round it. . . An elderly and humble cottage woman the owner, showed me over.  How far my satisfaction with the small rooms, & the view, & the ancient walls, & the wide sitting room, & the general oddity & character of the whole place were the result of finding something that would do. . . I don't know, but as I inspected the rooms I became conscious of a rising desire to settle here.

June 9, 1919 (D1 279)

The Round House -- Woodcut

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Becoming Color: June 7, 2015

Somebody had met a man whose business it was to explore the wilder parts of the world in search of cactuses, and from him had heard of these insects who are born with the flowers and die when the flowers fade. A hard-headed man, used to roughing it in all parts of the world, yet there was something moving to him in the sight of these little creatures drinking crimson until they became crimson; then flitting on to violet; then to a vivid green, and becoming for the moment the thing they saw—red, green, blue, whatever the colour of the flower might be. At the first breath of winter, he said, when the flowers died, the life went out of them, and you might mistake them as they lay on the grass for shrivelled air-balls. Were we once insects like that, too, one of the diners asked; all eye? Do we still preserve the capacity for drinking, eating, indeed becoming colour furled up in us, waiting proper conditions to develop?
"Walter Sickert: A  Conversation"