A room, an income and peace–Respect is the cherry
I had a strange urge to read A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. I don’t believe I’ve read any of her work before, which I find exceedingly odd.
I went through a phase in my teenage years where I read a lot of the classics, and I find it hard to imagine that Virginia didn’t cross my path. But I don’t have any memory of her work.
I got A Room of One’s Own from the library and have started it. It’s not at all what I expected. She certainly seems to ramble, but yet I feel she is going somewhere very specific as she strolls. I’m not sure exactly where yet, I will keep reading.
The book is a collection of essays she gave to two women’s colleges in Cambridge University.
I will write again as I delve further into her work.
I saw the movie The Hours where Virginia Woolf is masterfully portrayed by Nicole Kidman. The absolute desolation of her life hit me. She forgets to eat, chain smokes and tries to write. Tries to be herself. Her husband is a horribly jealous man who aggressively attacks her for writing, for working on a work he considers frivolous, selfish, indulgent.
After she fills her pockets with stones and walks into the lake, he appears to be bereft, but not because she killed herself, I believe, but because he’d lost his object of hatred that he unloaded his burden upon day after day. What would he do with all that hatred now that she’s gone? Likely find another poor woman to unload it upon, unfortunately.
I certainly agree with the need for a room and an income to be a writer, especially a woman writer. But there is also something else we need, and which is ironically difficult to find, peace. We need to be left alone. Or even more, to be respectfully left alone. This is not easily attained, however.
Even if we have the room and the income, someone will pipe in and imply not so subtly that what we do isn’t really work. Only people who haven’t tried it of course, writing that is. Anyone who has knows it’s hard as hell.
As writers we have to develop a very thick skin to handle the outside world while expressing our deepest emotions as we write. Another irony.
No wonder we need peace!