Thursday, December 30, 2004

What is it?

Is it rain? Snow? Rain? Snow? I don't know but it looks like winter out there and sounds like summer. Today I am going to hole up with my cup of coffee, slippers, a blanket... and read Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. It is another grey grey day out there. Perfect weather for the book I started last night. I want to read some of the books for next semester's class BEFORE I get stressed out with whatever will be expected of me. Yes, I want to enjoy them...leisurely. Anyway, Rita's got me inspired.

In this book there is a character named Lily. She is a painter. Was Woolf a painter? I think she was. She had to have been. There is no other way she would be able to write about globs of paint, color, and brush strokes the way she does. My favorite part so far is when Lily is walking down the road talking to a man when all of a sudden she sees the white wooden table of her father's in the crook of a tree. Just like that... things manifest them so strongly in her imagination that they appear as real as the silver bark of a tree. She gives no explanation. I think that is why her work is so difficult to read-- the lack of explanation for what she sees with her mind's eye. I like that about her. Why do we always walk around trying to explain ourselves? The mind is full of abstractions. Woolf allows those abstractions their full presence. This is why her stories are, at times, confusing. She travels great distances within even the ordinary. Maybe we'd all be crazy if we allowed ourselves this sight. But crazy is over-rated. It's a matter of where we allow our minds to go.
There is a line that she repeats:
"But what had happened?
Someone had blundered."

Ha! I love those parts. I have no idea what she is saying, but I have a feeling it is the parts that her mind spun out of control and was her only way of reeling back in. Someone had blundered. Stop. Take note. What is the question? Is it snow or is it rain? Something shifts. She is a strange one. I admire her for letting it show through. She hides nothing. She walks around in her novels with her mind split wide open. Yes, like Rita said... and egg split open with her insides spilled out. My guess is that her favorite color is green. The world unravels itself. This is the difficulty in holding it all together.

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