“Alone, I often fall down into nothingness. I must push my foot stealthily lest I should fall off the edge of the world into nothingness. I have to bang my head against some hard door to call myself back to the body.”
― Virginia Woolf, The Waves
I know it’s National Poetry Month and I’ve been posting poems every day. But, today I’m writing my blog about one writer, while not technically a poet, wrote some of the beautiful writing in history. I became acquainted with Virginia Woolf in high school. As a voracious reader and lover of English, I read everything I could. I always had my nose in a book. When I got to college, as an English major, I dove into all my lit classes and relished all the term papers and analysis papers I had to write. Virginia Woolf became a friend. I read everything she wrote and somewhere among the words and images, I found myself. I understood and related to her words more than anyone I’ve ever read. To The Lighthouse was a revelation to me. I have never read something that touched me so much in my life.
“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.”
― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
Page after page, I became obsessed with the Stream of Consciousness style. Her words were so poetic, so emotional. They touched places in me no book ever has before. I think it was right then that I decided once and for all, that yes, I was a writer. I wanted to follow in the enormous footsteps of this genius of a woman. I read everything I could about Ms. Woolf and her life and even there, I found a kindred spirit. She, too, battled with mental illness and great demons inside. As I read her suicide note that she left for her devoted husband, I cannot even tell you how it touches me. While, my disease differs quite a bit from Ms. Woolf, I can understand the pain she felt and how much of a burden she felt to her husband.
“Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier ’til this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that—everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.’ V
Finding someone you can relate can be a lifesaver. When you know that someone else understands you, life becomes less of a burden. Virginia Woolf and her words became a friend, a comforting presence in my life. That’s why I wanted to highlight some of her words today. They may not technically be poetry, but to me, they are poetic.