Home » Writing » Virginia Woolf

Category Archives: Virginia Woolf

Advertisements

Virginia Woolf. A Room of One’s Own. Emancipation and writing fiction

A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own.’

Why in order to write fiction in 1920s a woman required £500 per annum and a room of their own.

‘A Room of One’s Own’ became interesting once it got going. For me it read too much like an extended ‘Thought for the day’ on BBC Radio 4.

It couldn’t have been read; there is too much circumlocution, this ‘inner conversation.’

Read ‘A Room of One’s Own’in one sitting, as I did today in less than four hours.

It is a stream of consciuoness, the kind of thing that can manifest itself into openly talking to yourself or a second inner or sometimes distinct self.

For now some quotes. I’m certain to use and develop these ideas somewhere though.

‘Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.’

I liken Woolf to a fine antique box, carefully padded with foam and felt, in which there are a few gems, the value of which I do no appreciate. As for Hitler, I’m beginning to find account of his politicking as boring as the record of Bill Clinton’s rise to power. (I’m reading the Ian Kershaw biographies).

I find start to get to the kernel of her argument, hidden two-thirds of the way through ‘A Room of One’s Own.’

‘That serves to explain in part the necessity that woman so often are to men. And it serves to explain how restless they are under her criticism; how impossible it is for her to say to them this book is bad, this picture is feeble, or whatever it may be, without giving far more pain and rousing far more anger than a man would do who gave the same criticism. For if she begins to tell the truth, the figure in the looking-glass shrinks; his fitness for life is diminished’.

Here’s a quote to provoke!

‘How is he to go on giving judgment, civilising natives, making laws, writing books, dressing up and speechifying at banquets unless he can see himself at breakfast and at dinner at least twice the size he really is?’

This was written in the 1920s. I can hear the clack-clack of a typewriter, is it that? Or did she write it long-hand while looking out on her garden down the road from here at Rodmel? Her house in Rodmell is three miles down the road, I am often there, by the river, pondering her drowning in the River Ouse.

Women were only just beginning to shake off the shackles they had worn for centuries. The process is not yet complete, though the role of the ‘Alpha Female’ who has a career and babies while her HUSBAND looks after the children at home is becoming more prevalent.

‘The looking-glass vision is of supreme importance because it charges the vitality; it stimulates the nervous system. Take it away and man may die, like the drug fiend deprived of his cocaine.’

I like this image. How dependent men are on woman for their success and confidence. My father was like this. He needed his girlfriend/wife/mistress to adore him – to put him on a pedestal. As soon as he shamed himself (had an affair, got caught) he ditched his wife of the time to start afresh. He couldn’t live with partners who might perceive him as diminished (though he tolerated his children once we were adults, probably because we couldn’t help but love him however he behaved).

There’s more. I’ll keep these quotes together here for ease of reference; there uses are many.

‘Anything may happen when womanhood has ceased to be a protected occupation.’

In 25 years time I hope audiences look back on what Virginia Woolf had to say here. Perhaps there’s an excuse to look back at the last 75 years?

On writing fiction

This applies to anyone trying to write fiction. I will use this when, having had a novel or too published I start to lecture on the subject.

‘Fiction, imaginative work that is, is not dropped like a pebble on the ground, as science may be; fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.’

On mankind and their dominance of the arts. Why must men be superior? Would the world be a more peaceful and less competitive place if men stayed at home and raised the kids instead of waging war (corporate and international)?

‘For here again we come within range of that very interesting and obscure masculine complex which has had so much influence upon the woman’s movement; that deep-seated desire, not so much that she shall be inferior as that he shall be superior, which plants him wherever one looks, not only in front of the arts, but barring the way to politics too, even when the risk to himself seem infinitesimal and the suppliant humble and devoted.’

Why it doesn’t count unless you’re paid to do it:

‘Money dignifies what is frivolous if unpaid for.’

I like this.

I’ve written from a woman’s point of view before and should do so again.

‘A great mind is androgynous.’ Coleridge. ‘It is when this fusion takes place that the mind is fully fertilised and uses all its faculties.’

On writing. I apply this thinking to what I look for in a diary.

‘The whole of the mind must lie wide open if we are to get the sense that the writer is communicating his experience with perfect fullness.’

I go along this for ALL writing I admire. It is a criteria I try to apply to picking my ‘favorite diaries’ to read here.

‘So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only a few hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in defence to some Headmaster with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery, and the sacrifice of wealth and chastity which used to be said to be the greatest of human disasters, a mere flea-bite in comparison.’

I’ll find a use for this too.

‘Intellectual freedom depends upon material things.’

If only I could earn enough to do this:

‘By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.’

Be oneself .. think of things in themselves.

Advertisements

The pain of writing and how pain feeds the writing too

The pain of writing

‘Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me. It is the rapture I get when in writing I seem to be discovering what belongs to what, making a scene come right, making a character come together. From this I reach what I might call a philosophy, at any rate it is a constant idea of mine, that behind the cotton wool of daily existence is hidden a pattern, that we – I mean all human beings – are connected with this, that the whole worlds is a work of art, that we are parts of the work of art … we are the words, we are the music, we are the thing itself.’

Virginia Woolf ‘A Sketch of the Past’

Last Saturday I had an outpatient appointment at Eastbourne Hospital for an endoscopy.

For three days, I suffered from the most dreadful stomach pains and diarrhoea; it felt like I had a rat inside my stomach eating its way out. I slept a great deal, drank masses of water, tried hard not to vomit (I have a tendency not to stop) and read a couple of books cover to cover.

Lizzie Siddal ‘The tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel’ by Lucinda Hawksley

A gripping novel, it will be made into a film: I wish I could, a decade ago I would have given such a thought a go. I would have contacted the publisher, probably found an agent in America was already selling the rights or that it is being made into a film in New Zealand as I write.

I was passionate about the Pre-Raphaelites in my teens and twenties.

I was a budding artist, my mother had taught me how to draw from life from the age of four. Her tutor at Durham University had been Quentin Bell, child of the Bloomsbury Group and Charlton House. I liked doing portraits the most, of girls in particular. I fancied having my own Jane Morris and copied some drawings down of her by Millais. I wanted my own muse, my own ‘stunner’ and found her in the form of FF. Art as a career fell by the wayside, though I have directed often enough to have the pleasure of running auditions. If I can no longer have my muse, then I will write a contemporary story of an artist or director who becomes obsessed with someone he first sees on the Internet. You can’t just ask them out for dinner, or buy them coffee across the road. They are likely to live hundreds of miles away and may well speak only rudimentary English.

’Fathers and Sons. The Autobiography of a Family’ by Alexander Waugh

A birthday present from my mother who knows that two years after his death I’m still having problems controlling my feelings in relation to my late father and his fourth wife, my third stepmother and the shenanigans over his belongings. ‘So, plenty of father’s turn out to be xxx’ was how I put it to Mum. She’s given up defending her former husband and the father of her four children. I’ve not been in the mood for liking him at all for over 18 months. I caught something on T.V. about Peter Sellers the other day, how he walked in on his family one Saturday afternoon and declared to his wife and two children, then aged 6 and 8, then he wasn’t going to live with them any more. His sparky little daughter asked, ‘do you not love us any more, Daddy?’ to which Peter Sellers replied, ‘I still love you, I just love my Sophia (Loren) more.’ My father did much the same thing; he implied that he was leaving because he couldn’t stand us, although the real reason was his inability to remain faithful. My father, fed up with his children, age 6,8,10 and 12 badgering him over whether they’d see him at Christmas declared that as far as he was concerned Christmas was like any other day. We never saw him at Christmas again, though a bag of gifts in a Hamley’s bag, often unwrapped, would be delivered a few days before Christmas. If we forget to get him something for Christmas or his birthday, he’d complain. We never complained when birthday cards arrived “pp’d’ by his secretary though. Parents, who’d have them? There something we have no choice over. If we could choose them the way we choose our partners, we’d do a better a job of it.

Therefore, I’m smarting.

I’m writing several thousand words a day. Being in bed at home has broken the cycle of getting kids up, dressed, fed, lunch boxes made, into Lewes, into school, find somewhere to park, go to my office. Fall asleep, have a coffee, do some writing. Now I sit up, boot up, pick up whatever I was doing the day before or an hour before, and press on. I have several threads busily jangling, different chapters of this ‘thing.’

All this and I’ve got back into the habit not only of writing these entries, but of transcribing a few entries each day from diaries that take me back nearly twenty years, to the dark days of a tedious break-up with my ‘girlfriend 18-24’ who having been ‘mine’ for nearly five years was now someone else’s. She was on the verge of moving abroad permanently, on return trips in 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1989 we had brief reunions.

I look back on this now and wish she’d dropped me hard, as I had done with a couple of girlfriends. Anything else is slow death and it stops you moving on. Throughout this period, though I had six or seven great girlfriends I dropped two and let a couple stumble as brief encounters because ‘she of my teenage years’ reappeared on the scene. I’m enjoying the pain of recalling my feelings and applying it to various stories, the hurt, the jealousy, the difficult decisions, the deceit, the hopes, the dark days and bright days and the complete, tedious, life sapping ghastliness of it that left me in tears so often while trying to face other personal calamities in relation to my career and living in London that I needed to share with her. We had promised each other to be in touch when either one of us decided to get married; this I duly did. ‘What about me?’ she asked at which point I realised forever entangled, like a first marriage that had ended in divorce. The greater the distance between us then the better.

Next, up on my reading list:

  • Labels by Evelyn Waugh (travel writing)
  • Will this do? By Auberon Waugh (autobiography)
  • No Abiding City by Evelyn Waugh (autobiography)
  • Virginia Wolf by James King (biography)

Virginia Woolf an gastronenteritis

Friday 10th October 2004

‘Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me. It is the rapture I get when in writing I seem to be discovering what belongs to what, making a scene come right, making a character come together. From this I reach what I might call a philosophy, at any rate it is a constant idea of mine, that behind the cotton wool of daily existence is hidden a pattern, that we – I mean all human beings – are connected with this, that the whole world is a work of art, that we are parts of the work of art … we are the words, we are the music, we are the thing itself.’

Virginia Wool.’ from ‘A Sketch of the Past.’

Last Saturday I had an outpatient appointment at the hospital for an endoscopy.

That didn’t happen, my stomach pains were deemed unserious, possibly gastroenteritis or just as likely from alcohol abuse. On the way home, by bus, over the South Downs, affording me a view to Beachy Head and the English Channel, I was sneezed upon by the woman sitting behind me. This is why I loathe public transport (it is also why I am becoming increasingly tired of going swimming in a public pool where I invariably pick up a nose, throat or ear infection).

I had forgotten about the sneezing incident when on Monday night I fell ill.

For three days, I suffered from the most dreadful stomach pains and diarrhoea; it felt like I had a rat inside my stomach eating its way out. I slept a great deal, drank masses of water, tried hard not to vomit (I have a tendency not to stop), read a several of books cover to cover, eventually did a great deal of writing and only recovered after three weeks. Then, having taken the children swimming, I go down for another week with a hideous cold and sinusitis. So I’ve been ill, confined to the house if not bed, for a month.

‘Lizzie Siddal. The tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel’ by Lucinda Hawksley

A gripping novel, it will be made into a film, I wish I could, a decade ago I would have given such a thought a go. I would have contacted the publisher, probably found an agent in America was already selling the rights or that it is being made into a film in New Zealand.

I was passionate about the Pre-Raphaelites in my teens and twenties. I was a budding artist, my mother had taught me how to draw from life from the age of four. I liked doing portraits the most, of girls in particular. I fancied having my own Jane Morris and copied some drawings down of her by Millais. I wanted my own muse, my own ‘stunner’ and found her in the form of Fiona Feeley. Art as a career fell by the wayside, though I have directed often enough to have the pleasure of running auditions. If I can no longer have my muse, then I will write a contemporary story of an artist or director who becomes obsessed with someone he first sees on the Internet. You can’t just ask them out for dinner, or buy them coffee across the road. They are likely to live hundreds of miles away and may well speak only rudimentary English.

‘Fathers and Sons. The Autobiography of a Family’ by Alexander Waugh

A birthday present from my mother who knows that two years after his death I’m still having problems controlling my feelings in relation to my late father and his fourth wife, my third stepmother and the shenanigans over his belongings. ‘So, plenty of father’s turn out to be complete shits’ was how I put it to Mum. She’s given up defending her former husband and the father of her four children. I’ve not been in the mood for liking him at all for over 18 months. I caught something on T.V. about Peter Sellers the other day, how he walked in on his family one Saturday afternoon and declared to his wife and two children, then aged 6 and 8, then he wasn’t going to live with them any more. His sparky little daughter asked, ‘do you not love us any more, Daddy?’ to which Peter Sellers replied, ‘I still love you, I just love my girlfriend more.’ My father did much the same thing; he implied that he was leaving because he couldn’t stand us, although the real reason was his constant adultery. My father, fed up with his children, age 6,8,10 and 12 badgering him over whether they’d see him at Christmas declared that as far as he was concerned Christmas was like any other day. We never saw him at Christmas again, though a bag of gifts in a Hamley’s bag, often unwrapped, would be delivered a few days before Christmas. If we forget to get him something for Christmas or his birthday, he’d complain. We never complained when birthday cards arrived “pp’d’ by his secretary though.

‘Parents, who’d have them?’

If we could choose them the way we choose our partners, we’d do a better a job of it.

I’m smarting.

I’m writing several thousand words a day. Being in bed at home has broken the cycle of getting kids up, dressed, fed, lunch boxes made, into Lewes, into school, find somewhere to park, go to my office …. Fall asleep, have a coffee, do some writing. Now I sit up, boot up, pick up whatever I was doing the day before or an hour before, and press on. I have several threads busily jangling, different chapters of this ‘thing.’

All this and I’ve got back into the habit not only of writing these entries, but of transcribing a few entries each day from diaries that take me back nearly twenty years, to the dark days of a tedious break-up with my ‘childhood partner in frequent sex’ who having been ‘mine’ for nearly five years was now someone else’s. She was on the verge of moving abroad permanently, on return trips in 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1989 we had brief affairs. I never thought sex was possible without love, she taught me that it was possible, it was her words that we could have ‘sex for sex’s sake.’ I look back on this now and wish she’d dropped me hard, as I had done with a couple of girlfriends. Anything else is slow death and it stops you moving on. Throughout this period, though I had six or seven great girlfriends I dropped two and let a couple stumble as brief encounters because ‘sex goddess of my teenage years’ reappeared on the scene. I’m enjoying the pain of recalling my feelings and applying it to various stories, the hurt, the jealousy, the difficult decisions, the deceit, the hopes, the dark days and bright days and the complete, tedious, life sapping ghastliness of it that left me in tears so often while trying to face other personal calamities in relation to my career and living in London that I needed to share with her.

Next up on my reading list:

‘Labels’ by Evelyn Waugh (travel writing)
‘Will this do?’ By Auberon Waugh (autobiography)
‘No Abiding City’ by Evelyn Waugh (autobiography)
Virginia Wolf by James King (biography)

Mum now believes I should be a travel writer or journalist

If I could be either, how come I haven’t written a thing about my season working in the Alps, or my tours around France with a French TV crew?

Virginia Woolf and gastroenteritis

‘Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me. It is the rapture I get when in writing I seem to be discovering what belongs to what, making a scene come right, making a character come together. From this I reach what I might call a philosophy, at any rate it is a constant idea of mine, that behind the cotton wool of daily existence is hidden a pattern, that we – I mean all human beings – are connected with this, that the whole world is a work of art, that we are parts of the work of art … we are the words, we are the music, we are the thing itself.’

Virginia Wool.’ from ‘A Sketch of the Past.’

Last Saturday I had an outpatient appointment at the hospital for an endoscopy.

That didn’t happen, my stomach pains were deemed unserious, possibly gastroenteritis or just as likely from alcohol abuse. On the way home, by bus, over the South Downs, affording me a view to Beachy Head and the English Channel, I was sneezed upon by the woman sitting behind me. This is why I loathe public transport (it is also why I am becoming increasingly tired of going swimming in a public pool where I invariably pick up a nose, throat or ear infection).

I had forgotten about the sneezing incident when on Monday night I fell ill.

For three days, I suffered from the most dreadful stomach pains and diarrhoea; it felt like I had a rat inside my stomach eating its way out. I slept a great deal, drank masses of water, tried hard not to vomit (I have a tendency not to stop), read a several of books cover to cover, eventually did a great deal of writing and only recovered after three weeks. Then, having taken the children swimming, I go down for another week with a hideous cold and sinusitis. So I’ve been ill, confined to the house if not bed, for a month.

‘Lizzie Siddal. The tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel’ by Lucinda Hawksley

A gripping novel, it will be made into a film, I wish I could, a decade ago I would have given such a thought a go. I would have contacted the publisher, probably found an agent in America was already selling the rights or that it is being made into a film in New Zealand.

I was passionate about the Pre-Raphaelites in my teens and twenties. I was a budding artist, my mother had taught me how to draw from life from the age of four. I liked doing portraits the most, of girls in particular. I fancied having my own Jane Morris and copied some drawings down of her by Millais. I wanted my own muse, my own ‘stunner’ and found her in the form of Fiona Feeley. Art as a career fell by the wayside, though I have directed often enough to have the pleasure of running auditions. If I can no longer have my muse, then I will write a contemporary story of an artist or director who becomes obsessed with someone he first sees on the Internet. You can’t just ask them out for dinner, or buy them coffee across the road. They are likely to live hundreds of miles away and may well speak only rudimentary English.

‘Fathers and Sons. The Autobiography of a Family’ by Alexander Waugh

A birthday present from my mother who knows that two years after his death I’m still having problems controlling my feelings in relation to my late father and his fourth wife, my third stepmother and the shenanigans over his belongings. ‘So, plenty of father’s turn out to be complete shits’ was how I put it to Mum. She’s given up defending her former husband and the father of her four children. I’ve not been in the mood for liking him at all for over 18 months. I caught something on T.V. about Peter Sellers the other day, how he walked in on his family one Saturday afternoon and declared to his wife and two children, then aged 6 and 8, then he wasn’t going to live with them any more. His sparky little daughter asked, ‘do you not love us any more, Daddy?’ to which Peter Sellers replied, ‘I still love you, I just love my girlfriend more.’ My father did much the same thing; he implied that he was leaving because he couldn’t stand us, although the real reason was his constant adultery. My father, fed up with his children, age 6,8,10 and 12 badgering him over whether they’d see him at Christmas declared that as far as he was concerned Christmas was like any other day. We never saw him at Christmas again, though a bag of gifts in a Hamley’s bag, often unwrapped, would be delivered a few days before Christmas. If we forget to get him something for Christmas or his birthday, he’d complain. We never complained when birthday cards arrived “pp’d’ by his secretary though.

‘Parents, who’d have them?’

If we could choose them the way we choose our partners, we’d do a better a job of it.

I’m smarting.

I’m writing several thousand words a day. Being in bed at home has broken the cycle of getting kids up, dressed, fed, lunch boxes made, into Lewes, into school, find somewhere to park, go to my office …. Fall asleep, have a coffee, do some writing. Now I sit up, boot up, pick up whatever I was doing the day before or an hour before, and press on. I have several threads busily jangling, different chapters of this ‘thing.’

All this and I’ve got back into the habit not only of writing these entries, but of transcribing a few entries each day from diaries that take me back nearly twenty years, to the dark days of a tedious break-up with my ‘childhood partner in frequent sex’ who having been ‘mine’ for nearly five years was now someone else’s. She was on the verge of moving abroad permanently, on return trips in 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1989 we had brief affairs. I never thought sex was possible without love, she taught me that it was possible, it was her words that we could have ‘sex for sex’s sake.’ I look back on this now and wish she’d dropped me hard, as I had done with a couple of girlfriends. Anything else is slow death and it stops you moving on. Throughout this period, though I had six or seven great girlfriends I dropped two and let a couple stumble as brief encounters because ‘sex goddess of my teenage years’ reappeared on the scene. I’m enjoying the pain of recalling my feelings and applying it to various stories, the hurt, the jealousy, the difficult decisions, the deceit, the hopes, the dark days and bright days and the complete, tedious, life sapping ghastliness of it that left me in tears so often while trying to face other personal calamities in relation to my career and living in London that I needed to share with her.

Next up on my reading list:

‘Labels’ by Evelyn Waugh (travel writing)
‘Will this do?’ By Auberon Waugh (autobiography)
‘No Abiding City’ by Evelyn Waugh (autobiography)
Virginia Wolf by James King (biography)

Mum now believes I should be a travel writer or journalist

If I could be either, how come I haven’t written a thing about my season working in the Alps, or my tours around France with a French TV crew?

On writing a diary – January 1st, 1993

François Truffaut

François Truffaut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fig. 1. Francois Truffaut knew himself – what he read, why he read and what he thought in letters and notes.

 

Written on 1/1/1993 in a hardback journal

I’m not writing a journal or a diary

‘It seems to me that I follow only the most accessible thread. Three or four threads may be agitated, like telegraph wires, at the same time, and if I were to tap them all I would reveal such a mixture of innocence and duplicity, generosity and calculation, fear and courage. I cannot tell the whole truth simply because I would have to write four journals at once. I often would have to retrace my steps, because of my vice for embellishment’. Anais Nin

(Henry & June, Journals, July 1932)

This has become many things:

  • a record of what happens to me and around me each day
  • a notebook for whatever I’m reading
  • a record and analysis of dreams
  • a place to try my hand at exposure and expression while avoiding cliché’s like that one
  • a place to describe how it is, or isn’t;
  • a place to practise lies
  • a place to drill, thrill and hone my skill
  • a place to underplay, exaggerate or avoid
  • a place to lose myself in Truth
  • a place to mouth off or to get off
  • a place to play
  • a place where a blank pages means something as a day missed is a day when I’m too ill, too depressed, too drunk or too bored with it

Writers keep diaries to record events – a writer’s journal

I do this; working up events until they have become more real than reality as I obscure what happened with scene setting detail and by bringing narrative order to the muddle of a daily life. At times I write as a drill, to practice, at others because I feel an obligation, it is what I do most days, every day. I use these pages in an attempt to extract a writing style and extricate myself from the bland, for many years without success.

Lately a form has emerged as I tripped and stumbled over a keyboard I’ve been hacking at the undergrowth until I have found my way, happily pursuing forest paths and following streams back to their source. I keep a diary as a record of events: what I did, where, with whom. At times I reduce the diary to bullet points, satisfied that I’ve not lost the day forever to obscurity. As a painter I had to draw what I saw, from reality, not straight out of the mind or by copying. As a writer I hoped at first that I could write candidly about reality and once I had established that I could progress to fiction.

Am I writing postcards to myself?

How for example would I describe this house? How would I describe the room in where I am sleeping? How would I describe the view from the window? The desk at which I am writing ? How we made love this morning? These are the things about which I should write.

It all counts. It all mounts

Words tripping over words, hardback notebooks labelled and stacked, files in boxes and files on discs, on zips and here, online. It’s a matter of finding the words, describing chronologically the actions which make the event and in so doing transporting the reader into my head.

This writing is never supposed to be a draft of anything

I would allow my diary to be read by Suzi. Knowing she would sometimes read it I could write disinformation, instead of writing about me, I could write about her, and as I would in a letter and could express my love for her instead of my doubts; as all authors do for their readers I could write what she wanted to read. Hardest of all was the need to leave out my lust for other women (I was 17 when we met, 18 when we went out with each other and 25 when we broke up)

I liked to indulge that rush of blood you get on seeing someone you could imagine being with !!

I had an affair with Louise without getting a finger near her … because I wrote, and imagined, and connived to seduce her, in my mind I dated her, despite how often she told me she had a boyfriend in London – foolishly I admitted some of this to Suzi. In so doing I smudged our relationship; I became a Janus, committed to looking in different directions, holding onto Suzi whilst hoping the relationship with Louise would take off – it didn’t.

The search for ‘Janus’ set off a string of memories

The search led me to the ‘Oxford Companion of Classical Literature’ and so to considering Hedes, looking up ‘sentinel’ and finally pursuing Juno until I read Janus and it all fell into place – a riddle solved. This in turn sparked off a vivid memory of being told by Mr Byers at Mowden Hall School sometime in the early 1970s.

I read how Francois Truffaut said he felt it was necessary to read everything to give the mind food and things to smart against, ways of gaining new ideas and having old one revived. If this is the case I can justify reading trash: ‘The Sunday Sport’ and ‘Viz’ as well as my favourite current authors: Anais Nin, Henry Miller, not only required reading classics like ‘Crime and Punishment’ and ‘Ulysses’, but also books I loved and read in the past which need to be reread: ‘Time Enough for Love‘ (Heinlein) ‘The Lord of the Rings’ (Tolkein), ‘The Nania Chronicles’ (C. S. Lewis), even that child’s book on history (Ladybird) which begun with a picture of a caveman and later had pictures of the Golden Hynde, my earliest books and what I thought of them.

‘Mind Stimulation’ digging up the psyche, that’s what I’ll call it!!!

So how many diaries or journals do I need?

  • a dream book
  • a diary for a straight log of what I did during the day
  • a journal as a notebook (as here)
  • a memory jogger
  • something for assessment/analysis of what I am thinking and reading
  • a scrapbook.

How many is that?
Would four do the trick?
Could I try it for a year?

I kept a five year day for eight years in my early teens: the five lines per day are hopeless unrevealing: I washed my hair, cleaned out the rabbit kind of thing. Some rare moments bring back the day or event. I began to record dreams in my mid-teens, tiring off it when I found I could recall four or more dreams each night taking several hours to write them up the following day. I kept a scrapbook and dairy in a ring-bind folder when I went on an exchange with a French boy and repeated this around my 17th birthday, filling a folder in one month and so realising I needed a different approach. This is when I settled for a page of A4 per day every day, not less and rarely more. Being able to write as much as I liked I found myself filling a dozen pages plus and so quickly lost the detail that would have otherwise identified the day, month and year.

Dreams already (usually) go on a pre-formatted template on the Amstrad

I’ve been wanting to buy a scrapbook again for ages but haven’t come up with an easy solution – it needs to be in a bound book form for simplicity’s sake. The ‘Journals’ (this) I have, which leaves the diary. If I take this route it will be strictly a ‘page day job’ – none of these twelve page epic per day entries. It would be a mere (better than nothing though) Logbook. Though never as dry. From this I could write expanded entries (as I am currently trying to do with the 1980s).

Anais would hide her diary

This secretiveness was a product of the treachery it would have revealed, especially to her husband Hugo who would have been unable to handle it. I hid my diaries for another reason – how vulnerable the inner thoughts can make you, and how many impressions, concerns, agitations are fears of the moment which would usually, sensibly, remain hidden.

It’s that probing around in my skull for scrap of anxiety or mystery which most concerns me.

I don’t want to indulge, I don’t want to look for fault. I don’t want to dwell on previous relationships (such as Suzi), unless I know also I will keep them in the past, unfortunately diaries, like minutes in a meeting, eventually prompt you to ‘do something about it’ Actions points, 1,2,3 …

%d bloggers like this: