In Remembrance of Virginia WoolfMonday, March 28, 2016
75 years ago today, the world lost a great talent to suicide. This talent belonged the great artist and feminist Virginia Woolf.
Sadly enough, I was first properly introduced to Virginia Woolf through the Oscar worthy film, The Hours. To this day, I would consider it one of my top 5 favorite films, partly for opening me up to the world of powerful female authors and forcing me to seriously ponder feminism and its significance to the world I know today. Since that moment I have gone on to devour works by a multitude of other strong women, but on this 75th anniversary of Virginia's famous suicide, it feels both humbling and necessary to pay tribute to a woman who forever changed history, and who has taught the world so much about feminism, the inner world women lived in, and the struggles of being confined by a society so bent on locking women inside a cave.
Here, I have compiled a list of quotes that speak to me, as I hope they do to you, of the power and will of a strong mind.
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”
“Why are women... so much more interesting to men than men are to women?”
“Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.”
“Second hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.”
“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
“I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.”
“I don't believe in aging. I believe in forever altering one's aspect to the sun. ”
“How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.”
“I enjoy almost everything. Yet I have some restless searcher in me. Why is there not a discovery in life? Something one can lay hands on and say “This is it”? My depression is a harassed feeling. I’m looking: but that’s not it — that’s not it. What is it? And shall I die before I find it?”
And perhaps the most important one of all to me, perfectly describing my struggle with wanting to be an artist.
“I will not be "famous," "great." I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one's self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded.”
Please take the words and meditate on them. Feel them reverberate in your heart and know that there is a tiny artist in each of us, if only we free ourselves from the chains we have so complacently allowed to be placed there.
For more information on feminism and Virginia Woolf in general, see the following links:
Why Virginia Woolf Should Be Your Feminist Role Model
75 Years After Virginia Woolf's Death, Women Still Want a Room of Their Own
Featured Feminists of the Month of Pulp Zine
To help with depression and suicide prevention, please donate to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. If someone you know or love is worried about suicide, please visit or call The Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Also, don't forget to check out yesterday's outfit post and an essay on freedom.