Monday, March 21, 2016

It is Finished: March 21, 2016

There it was--her picture. Yes, with all its greens and blues, its lines running up and across, its attempt at something. It would be hung in the attics, she thought; it would be destroyed. But what did that matter? she asked herself, taking up her brush again. She looked at the steps; they were empty; she looked at her canvas; it was blurred. With a sudden intensity, as if she saw it clear for a second, she drew a line there, in the centre. It was done; it was finished. Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision.
To  the Lighthouse (211)

365 days ago, I committed to posting a year of blog entries on Woolf and flowers.  This is my 338th post.  I will continue to post from time to time, filling in days I missed or doubling up on days when I have a particularly good anniversary to celebrate.  Hope you’ve enjoyed the ride.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Oblongs upon Squares: March 20, 2016

There is a square; there is an oblong.  The players take the square and place it upon the oblong.  They place it very accurately; they make a perfect dwelling-place.  Very little is left outside.  The structure is now visible; what is inchoate is here stated; we are not so various or so mean; we have made oblongs and stood them upon squares.  This is our triumph; this is our consolation.

The Waves (118)

A Pattern Behind the Cotton Wool: March 19, 2016

From this I reach what I might call a philosophy; at any rate it is a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we--I mean all human beings--are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art. Hamlet or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven ; certainly and emphatically there is no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.
“A Sketch of the Past” (MOB 72)

Incomplete Emotions: March 18, 2016

March 18, 1925
At the moment (I have 7½ before dinner) I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realizes an emotion at the time.  It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.  (D3 5)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

No Plot of Earth without Its Bloom: March 17, 2016

At length, however, there was no room in the galleries for another table no room on the tables for another cabinet; no room in the cabinet for another rose-bowl; no room in the bowl for another handful of potpourri; there was no room for anything anywhere; in short the house was furnished. In the garden snowdrops, crocuses, hyacinths, magnolias, roses, lilies, asters, the dahlia in all its varieties, pear trees and apple trees and cherry trees and mulberry trees, with an enormous quantity of rare and flowering shrubs, of trees evergreen and perennial, grew so thick on each other's roots that there was no plot of earth without its bloom, and no stretch of sward without its shade. 
Orlando (81)
March 17, 1928 finishes writing Orlando at 1:00 PM

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wave in the Mind: March 16, 2016

March 16, 1926 
Style is a very simple matter; it is all rhythm.  Once you get that, you can’t use the wrong words.  But on the other hand here I am sitting after half the morning, crammed with ideas, and visions, and so on, and can’t dislodge them, for lack of the right rhythm.  Now this  is very profound, what rhythm is, and goes far deeper than words.  A sight, an emotion, creates a wave in the mind, long before it makes words to fit it; and in writing (such is my preent belief) one hasto recapture this, and set the working (which has apparently nothing to do with words) and then, as it breaks and tumbles in the mind, it makes words to fit it: But no doubt I shall feel differently next year.

(L3 247)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Proportion: March 15, 2016

Proportion, divine proportion, Sir William's goddess, was acquired by Sir William walking hospitals, catching salmon, begetting one son in Harley Street by Lady Bradshaw, who caught salmon herself and took photographs scarcely to be distinguished from the work of professionals.  Worshipping proportion, Sir William not only prospered himself but made England prosper, secluded her lunatics, forbade childbirth, penalised despair, made it impossible for the unfit to propagate their views until they, too, shared his sense of proportion--his, if they were men, Lady Bradshaw's if they were women (she embroidered, knitted, spent four nights out of seven at home with her son), so that not only did his colleagues respect him, his subordinates fear him, but the friends and relations of his patients felt for him the keenest gratitude for insisting that these prophetic Christs and Christesses, who prophesied the end of the world, or the advent of God, should drink milk in bed, as Sir William ordered; Sir William with his thirty years' experience of these kinds of cases, and his infallible instinct, this is madness, this sense; in fact, his sense of proportion.
Mrs. Dalloway (97)
Written March 15, 1924

Set in a Garden: March 14, 2016

Talland House Garden, northern corner
[I]n what garden did all this happen? For one had settings for these scenes; trees that grew there; flowers; a certain light; a few figures. Everything tended to set itself in a garden where there was none of this gloom.

To the Lighthouse (188)

Billowing Downs: March 13, 2016

As we drove along through lanes deeply cut in the chalk, I kept likening the downs to long curved waves of the sea.  It is as though the land here, all molten once, & rolling in vast billows had solidified while the waves were still swollen & on the point of breaking.  From a height it looks as thought he whole land were flowing.
A Passionate Apprentice (192)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Deep Roots: March 12, 2016

Flower after flower is specked on the depths of green.  The petals are harlequins.  Stalks rise from the black hollows beneath.  The flowers swim like fish made of light upon the dark, green waters.  I hold a stalk in my hand.  I am the stalk.  My roots go down to the depths of the world, through earth dry with brick, and damp earth, through veins of lead and silver.  I am all fibre.  All tremors shake me, and the weight of the earth is pressed to my ribs.  Up here my eyes are green leaves, unseeing.

The Waves (6)

No Face: March 11, 2016

Rhoda at SE Halt -- Color reduction woodcut + solar plate
I do not know--your days and hours pass like the boughs of forest trees and the smooth green of forest rides to a hound running on the scent.  But there is no single scent, no single body for me to follow.  And I have no face. I am like the foam that races over the beach or the moonlight that falls arrowlike here on a tin can, here on a spike of the mailed sea holly, or a bone or a half-eaten boat.  I am whirled down caverns, and flap like paper against endless corridors, and must press my hand against the wall to draw myself back.
The Waves (94)

March 11, 1932  Dora Carrington commits suicide

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Writer's Territory: March 10, 2016

A writer’s country is a territory within his own brain; and we run the risk of disillusionment if we try to make such phantom cities into tangible bricks and mortar.  We know our way there without signposts or policemen.   
“Literary Geography” (E1 35)
March 10, 905:   “Literary Geography” published  in TLS

Inarticulate Wax: March 9, 2016

She looked at him against the background of flowering magnolia. There was something curious in the sight.  Perhaps it was that the heavy wax-like flowers were so smooth and inarticulate, and his face-- he had thrown his hat away, his hair was rumpled, he held his eye-glasses in his hand, so that a red mark appeared on either side of his nose--was so worried and garrulous.  It was a beautiful bush, spreading very widely, and all the time she had sat there talking she had been noticing the patches of shade and the shape of the leaves, and the way the great white flowers sat in the midst of the green. She had noticed it half-consciously, nevertheless the pattern had become part of their talk.   
The Voyage Out (208-9)

March 9,1913: Voyage Out delivered to Gerald Duckworth

Vivid Sight: March 8, 2016

How sights fix themselves upon the mind!  For example, the vivid green moss.   

Mrs. Dalloway

Flower Rippled Dress: March 7, 2016

Miranda slept in the orchard, lying in a long chair beneath the apple-tree. Her book had fallen into the grass, and her finger still seemed to point at the sentence "Ce pays est vraiment un des coins du monde ou le rire des filles eclate le mieux . . ." as if she had fallen asleep just there. The opals on her finger flushed green, flushed rosy, and again flushed orange as the sun, oozing through the apple-trees, filled them. Then, when the breeze blew, her purple dress rippled like a flower attached to a stalk; the grasses nodded; and the white butterfly came blowing this way and that just above her face. Four feet in the air over her head the apples hung. 
“The Orchard” 

Drops at Dawn: March 6, 2016

'But I never rise at dawn and see the purple drops in the cabbage leaves; the red drops in the  roses.  I do not watch the setter nose in a circle, or lie at night watching the leaves hide the stars and the stars move and the leaves hang still.  The butcher calls; the milk has to be stood under a shade lest it should sour.  The Waves (125)

(March 6, 1930: Woolf was working on Part 6 of The Waves)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Quick break

Woolf in bloom is going to Iceland for a few days.  Meanwhile, look for quotes on lichen and moss.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Kew Will Do: March 2, 2016

Do you recognize the Green and in the middle the steeple, and the gate with a lion couchant on either side? Oh yes, it is Kew! Well, Kew will do. So here we are at Kew, and I will show you to-day (the second of March) under the plum tree, a grape hyacinth, and a crocus, and a bud, too, on the almond tree; so that to walk there is to be thinking of bulbs, hairy and red, thrust into the earth in October; flowering now; and to be dreaming of more than can rightly be said, and to be taking from its case a cigarette or cigar even, and to be flinging a cloak under (as the rhyme requires) an oak, and there to sit, waiting the kingfisher, which, it is said, was seen once to cross in the evening from bank to bank.


Hidden Music: March 1, 2016

For I hear music, they were saying.  Music wakes us.  Music makes us see the hidden, join the broken.  Look and listen.  See the flowers, how they ray their redness, whiteness, silverness and blue.  And the trees with their many-tongued much syllabling, their green and yellow leaves hustle us and shuffle us, and bid us, like the starlings, and the rooks, come together, crowd together, to chatter and make merry while the red cow moves forward and the black cow stands still.
Between the Acts (83)

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Crocus will Burn: February 29, 2016

Photo by Sue Watts
Even so, when the whole earth is sheeted and slippery, some undulation, some irregularity of surface will mark the boundary of an ancient garden, and there, thrusting its head up undaunted in the starlight, the rose will flower, the crocus will burn. 

“On Being Ill”  
 (E5 200)

Meeting Henry James in Rye: February 28, 2016

"My Poppies" -- Multiple Block Color-Reduction Woodcut
Well then, we went and had tea with Henry James today, and Mr and Mrs Prothero at the golf club; and Henry James fixed me with his staring blank eye—it is like a childs marble —and said ‘My dear Virginia, they tell me—they tell me — they tell me—that you —as indeed being your fathers daughter nay your grandfathers grandchild—the descendant I may say of a century—of a century—of quill pens and ink—ink—ink pots, yes, yes, yes, they tell me—ahm m m —that you, that you, that you write in short.’ This went on in the public street, while we all waited, as farmers wait for the hen to lay an egg—do they?—nervous, polite, and now on this foot now on that. I felt like a condemned person, who sees the knife drop and stick and drop again. 
 (L1 306)

Death of Henry James, February 28, 1916.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Radiant Pearls: February 27, 2016

White Wisteria at Sissinghurst. Photo by Syd Cross.
[S]he shines in the grocers shop in Sevenoaks with a candle lit radiance, stalking on legs like beech trees, pink glowing, grape clustered, pearl hung.
(D3 52)   

February 27, 1931  Woolf spends the night at Sissinghurst with Vita