A Writer's Diary

A Painting I Painted when Pregnant with my First Child

On our way out of River Falls we stopped at the Fox Den Book Store because Roseanna had seen a book she wanted, a book of gross jokes, so I also bought Virginia Woolf's A Writer's Diary in which on Monday, January 26th, 1920, she writes that she is very happy, "having this afternoon arrived at some idea of a new form for a new novel. . . . Indeed, I think from the ease with which I'm developing the unwritten novel there must be a path for me there."

In the introduction, her husband and publisher Leonard Woolf explains how she wrote her diary on blank paper that was then bound, 26 volumes in all.  How tidy!  Meanwhile, I am writing on this and that, half finished journals thrown into forgotten boxes, slips of paper, rolls of receipt tape, almost nothing dated.

This morning, I am torn between writing and planting the basil.  I was going to clean out the porch gutter, but the neighbors said they know a guy who will do the whole thing for under a $100 and that, yes, I should definitely call because, no, Andrew should definitely not do the second story.  They have four friends who have fallen from ladders and injured themselves, all academics, yes, but all in very good shape at the time.

It's taken me over two decades to convince myself not to feel guilty about spending so much time writing, and still I am not always convinced.

I like when Virginia Woolf says (p.46), "There!  I've written out half my irritation."

I suppose I am something of a monk, or a housewife, depending on others' generosity so that I may continue with this habit that brings me around to the same conclusions that humans have been coming to for millennium.

And now the kids are home.  Maybe this summer I will write only on this onion paper that I bought at a garage sale and then bind the pages into a book.

Often a new paper will invigorate me to declare a grand project, usually inspired by some book I start and never finish (To the Lighthouse comes to mind), and usually for some distinct length of time - a year, a summer, a week - grand projects which I nearly always abandon not long after getting started.

I could see this as a sign that I never finish what I start and get down on myself for it.  Or I could see it for what it is, an end in and of itself, a way of practicing.

No comments:

Post a Comment