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aspiring to write like VW

I typically start off the morning journaling my “morning pages” as dubbed by Julia Cameron of “The Artist’s Way”. Yesterday morning instead of immediately journaling, I started off by reading up the rest of “A Room of One’s Own“, as my bookclub met yesterday afternoon to discuss it in all its splendour. Reading first thing in the morning really set me in a bit of a tizzy and threw off my desire to write because I want so badly to be able to write in some semblance of VW’s style. That feeling continues into today and will probably continue to haunt me for some time. VW has me spellbound. Her words are like liquid music that she has somehow made concrete, yet upon reading the words are transformed and rise up and fly about my head like so many magnificient butterflies. One woman yesterday had difficulty with VW’s long long sentences. I hadn’t noticed the length (and truly they tend towards ridiculous length), because I love the flow and brilliant imagery of her prose-like sentences. Perhaps it is because I too tend toward longer sentences that I can so appreciate hers – although they do tend to go on without a period in site a little bit longer than my own rambling run-ons. Her sentences are so very delightful, profound, sarcastic, witty, and full of life.

 I wonder what VW would think if she could see how women experience life today and how very different that experience is from her own time.Would she be proud? Dismayed? Disgusted? Delighted?  Much of what she predicts in “A Room…” is true today. The majority of women are able to have a room of their own and support themselves with a sufficient income. So many women are writing about every subject – we are no longer limited to fiction and portraying ourselves within the context of the masculine. I wonder what she would think of women like Hiliary Clinton or Sarah Palin, who have perhaps, as she puts it ‘too much of the man’ in them. I wonder what she would think of women like myself – who yearn to write but are reticent to move beyond this easy format – who perhaps have ‘too much of the woman’ and are unable to write from the perspective of androgny that she believed enables the mind to be “resonant and porous; that it transmits emotion without impediment; that it is naturally creative, incandescent and undivided.” That is not me I fea,r for I love to write wholly as a woman, fully as a woman. But then VW also does go on to implore the reader (whom she assumes is a woman) to write fully as oneself; to write exactly as we think – that IS what I do and maybe to the detriment of my writing style. My writing certainly does not contain the eloquence or purity of thought that I think Woolf would have women writers strive for. However, I do believe that I am able to capture reality – my reality – to make real my experience and I hope express that in a believable way to those who read my little blog posts (which on a good day is more than two persons).

I am striving toward more eloquence, more continuity, etc. Perhaps the rambling practice of this blog will someday fertilize the seed of greater writings that will go out into the world, that I would be proud to hold up to the light of VW’s eyes if she were alive and so inclined. It is inspiring to know the struggles of female writers of the past and how those struggles have brought the world to a place where I can blog freely, write freely, without fear of any repercussions based solely on the fact that I am a woman and I dare to write what I think. Perhaps enough has changed in the eighty years since “A Room of One’s Own” was published that the female writer no longer needs to write from an androgyneous mind. Perhaps the collective consciousness of women now has developed enough independence and autonomy that women can write freely from the female perspective without being weighed down by the yoke of the stifling patriarchy. “We think through our mothers if we are women”, writes Woolf, bemoaning the fact that her mothers and foremothers were not writers, were not allowed the freedom, the space, the time to write freely and there was a scarcity of example for herself and her contemporaries. Today, women think back through amazing mothers of creativity like Woolf and many other brilliant women. We have that foundation that she longed for.

I do know that I love to write – to find just the right word for the thoughts tumbling around in my head (a search that is often fruitless and just the “right” word escapes me and I settle for an “okay” word instead…but I digress).. I long to write more often and more productively (meaning in a manner that I find beautiful and proficient and that other people would want to read) but I do feel held back. Unlike Woolf, I do not believe it is the fetters of gender repression that hold me back, but rather the shackles are of my own mind. Fear that tells me that any attempt to write more than a simple blog post on my very own small and unknown blog would be absurd and never ever stand a chance to be published or read by more than a random few (much less actually enjoyed). I perhaps can blame this fear somewhat on the patriarchy of my own family and maybe a smidge on the patriarchy still dominant in society. Truly there are so many amazing female writers, both notorious and relatively unknown, who stand before me as role models, who light the path for me and give me the hope of their experience. No, blame serves no purpose and I would rather blame no one, for blame is just another lock that keeps me victim of my own fears and shortcomings. My key to liberation lies in learning to believe in myself; learning to take chances and put myself out there; and learning that things (even my writings) do not have to be perfect.


One Response

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