Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So Where the Heck Are We?

To tell you the truth, we're not sure! Davin has been adjusting to a brand new job, I've been dealing with the release of Monarch, and I think Scott is in the busy busy busy time at work and he's also digging away at his detective novel revisions. I think. I could totally be wrong. Amazingly enough, the three of us will be trying to meet sometime soon to try and talk on Skype about some Big Literary Lab Things That Need Discussing. Have I perked your interest?

Anyway, I just wanted all of you to know we haven't left you completely. Here, have some Virginia Woolf. This is a passage From a Room of One's Own and like all of Woolf, it's brilliant and layered and means more than you first think.

At this moment, as so often happens in London, there was a complete lull and suspension of traffic. Nothing came down the street; nobody passed. A single leaf detached itself from the plane tree at the end of the street, and in that pause and suspension fell. Somehow it was like a signal falling, a signal pointing to a force in things which one had overlooked. It seemed to point to a river, which flowed past, invisibly, round the corner, down the street, and took people and eddied them along, as the stream at Oxbridge had taken the undergraduate in his boat and the dead leaves. Now it was bringing from one side of the street to the other diagonally, a girl in patent leather boots, and then a young man in a maroon overcoat; it was also bringing a taxi-cab. And it brought all three together at a point directly beneath my window; where the taxi stopped; and the girl and the young man stopped; and they go into the taxi; and then the cab glided off as if it were swept on by the current elsewhere.

What does this mean to you? One of the things I love about Woolf is that there is always this overtone of natural inevitability, but later she comes back to shove it out of the way with her precise characters. Sometimes I feel life is like that, too. We are carried away by the current of events swirling around us until we stop and realize we can tell that cab driver to stop and we can get out. Or we can keep riding.

9 comments:

  1. Yes, I'm busy busy busy at the office, and I'm busy busy busy at the revisions. I'm finding that some long passages were written moslty in sentence fragments (who could've done that to me?) and I'm turning all those fragments into sentences, which is annoying and painstaking labor. And not something anyone here wants to read about.

    I love the Woolf passage. Virginia and her street scenes. People claim her writing is sort of vague and gauzy, but her images are always very specific and concrete.

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  2. Where are our readers? Nobody cares about us anymore. Where's the love. :(

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  3. Okay, this is going to seem crazy but I couldn't get through the passage until I did the following:

    At this moment,
    as so often happens
    in London,
    there was a complete lull and
    suspension of traffic.
    Nothing came down the street;
    nobody passed.
    A single leaf detached itself
    from the plane tree
    at the end of the street,
    and in that pause and
    suspension fell.
    Somehow it was
    like a signal falling,
    a signal pointing
    to a force in things
    which one had overlooked.
    It seemed to point
    to a river,
    which flowed past,
    invisibly,
    round the corner,
    down the street, and
    took people and
    eddied them along,
    as the stream at Oxbridge
    had taken the undergraduate
    in his boat
    and the dead leaves.
    Now it was bringing
    from one side of the street
    to the other diagonally,
    a girl in
    patent leather boots,
    and then
    a young man in
    a maroon overcoat;
    it was also bringing
    a taxi-cab.
    And it brought all three
    together
    at a point directly
    beneath my window;
    where the taxi stopped;
    and the girl
    and the young man
    stopped;
    and they go into the taxi; and
    then the cab glided off
    as if it were swept on
    by the current elsewhere.

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  4. It's just that time of year. Everyone's out packing up the summer house, putting the boat in storage, going back to school, that sort of thing. Before you know it, the holiday season will be here and something else I need to do before the end of the year. Now what was that? Something about writing a short story?

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  5. @Judith

    Written that way, it's a whole other world. Thank you.

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  6. ooh- I love that passage! I love how she goes from showing to telling to showing and by the end of that passage the words themselves seem to flow like the stream at Oxbridge..:)

    I nnneeeed to read some Virginia Woolf - should I start with To the Lighthouse, Mrs Dalloway, Orlando or From a Room of One's Own? hmm..*ponders*

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  7. Domey - your time is hiding in your sock. Go find it.

    Lavanya

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