I first heard of Virginia Woolf when I was still in highschool. Probably in my English class where we were studying Shakespeare and
they were protesting who actually wrote Shakespeare. Woolf made no
glory speeches for Shakespeare but asked us instead to think for a
moment on Shakespeare’s imaginary sister who could not have maneuvered
in that Elizabethan world . Not as an actress, not as a writer, and
scarcely as a woman with choices. It was a moment of perception that
stayed with me.
My heart often felt suicidal in my youth. I understood someone putting stones in her pocket before surrendering to the river’s
embrace. I grew out of my thoughts that way into a woman who has her own lot of depressions, but longs to see them through. I even wrote
a play about Virginia called ALMOST THE FULL MOON where I took her on
her walk and let her find her river offstage.
She was a writer of lace and steel both. She had that sharpness but also the flowers that filled the vases of an inviting room. When I
heard her voice it was definite but comfortable.
I have my own room in which to write now. I have my satisfying world. It took me a very long time to find these things and also to find the courage to put demons in the cellar, not in my head or heart.
Yet once in a while I still am pulled to a conversation with Virginia that goes deeper than the pleasantries of writing. It goes to the gut. It sits her down across from me where I can look into her eyes that are usually diverted in photographs from the one who would view her. It tugs at the smile she refuses to give us.
Do I see more than she did that I can live? Or did she see more than I did that she chose her rocks and walked into the water? We’ll never know.