Tag Archives: Virginia Woolf

Past and future…


Apparently, the weekly serialization of Thomas Hardy’s novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge began on January 2, 1885. The date of this event is unimportant; what caught my eye was the fact that Virginia Woolf visited Hardy in 1926, one and a half years before his death, and she took this very novel with her to read on the train. Unable to put the book down, she told him about her appreciation for his novel. He, on the other hand, seemed unable to talk positively about her writing. She had just finished the draft of To the lighthouse. He was holding on to the past in his Wessex-based stories, while she was pushing forward with all her might. Hardy emphasized the importance of stories having a beginning, a middle, and an end, and remarked scathingly on the fact that “a story can come to an end with a woman leaving the room”.

It warms my heart to know that two of my literary idols met this way, and that Virginia Woolf appreciated Hardy’s prose.

It is no coincidence that Hardy and Woolf represent what I hold most dear in literature. Over the years I’ve become increasingly aware of the importance of roots, or the lack thereof. At the same time, I am fascinated by progress. I’ve embarked on a parallel search for my past and my future and who could depict these extremes within me better, than Hardy and Woolf…

It is also not surprising that lately I’ve been drawn to the tree of life symbol, especially its representations where the roots and the foliage are equal. Because I’m not sure what’s more important… I used to think that the past wasn’t. I think I was very wrong. I think that without a profound understanding of where we come from, and where we’re going, there can be no peace in the present.

(I borrowed the picture from this website, where you can purchase the artist’s print: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/tree-of-life-renee-womack.html)

Virginia and I


…turns out, we were born on the same day. January 25. I was born on the same day that this genius, this brilliant and deranged mind came into this world (many years later, of course). No pressure, huh?!

Here’s to you, Virginia, for changing the world – and to me, for trying. 🙂

Happy Birthday to us!

(Painting by Ilana Simons, therapist, author and literature professor)



“Like a work of art,” she repeated, looking from her canvas to the
drawing-room steps and back again. She must rest for a moment. And,
resting, looking from one to the other vaguely, the old question which
traversed the sky of the soul perpetually, the vast, the general
question which was apt to particularize itself at such moments as
these, when she released faculties that had been on the strain, stood
over her, paused over her, darkened over her. What is the meaning of
life? That was all–a simple question; one that tended to close in on
one with years. The great revelation had never come. The great
revelation perhaps never did come. Instead there were little daily
miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark;
here was one.
This, that, and the other; herself and Charles Tansley
and the breaking wave; Mrs. Ramsay bringing them together; Mrs. Ramsay
saying, “Life stand still here”; Mrs. Ramsay making of the moment
something permanent (as in another sphere Lily herself tried to
make of the moment something permanent)–this was of the nature
of a revelation. In the midst of chaos there was shape; this eternal
passing and flowing (she looked at the clouds going and the leaves
shaking) was struck into stability.
Life stand still here, Mrs. Ramsay
said. “Mrs. Ramsay! Mrs. Ramsay!” she repeated. She owed it all to her.

(Excerpt from To the lighthouse; painting by Angela Ungren, North Carolina – you can purchase prints on this link: http://www.imagekind.com/Dark-and-Stormy-Night-at-Point-No-Point-Lighthouse-art?IMID=2ef3bc25-71fc-47c7-8e00-a2808fd0941a)