Saturday, September 17, 2011

Virginia Woolf, Moments of Being

Virginia Woolf
Loss upon loss
Fears the greater loss

Imagine Virginia Woolf at thirteen. She lives in a busy household that centers around her mother, her mother who is forty...her mother who takes care of seven children-no eight because there’s one yet at home… a child not spoken of… a child who will disappear soon…a child who is called an idiot-child by Virginia as was the custom of the day. Imagine her mother is married to a man, her second husband, who is fifteen years older, a writer, and demanding. Imagine Virginia at thirteen in this busy house of guests and happenings… the same Virginia we all know through her writing… the Virginia who loses her mother on May 5, the same day of my mother’s death. Imagine Virginia at thirteen. She carries the presence of her mother (as I do) while her mother is long gone. She wrote in Moments of Being:
“I could hear her voice, see her, and imagine what she would do or say as I went about my day’s doings. She was one of the invisible presences who after all play so important a part in every life.’’ (80)
And as Virginia pours out her heart-words both troubled and turbulent in To the Lighthouse, a work of fiction that’s autobiography, she becomes empty and unbound to this once compelling presence of her mother. She asks, “Why, because I describe her and my feeling for her in that book, should my vision of her and my feeling for her become so much dimmer and weaker?” (81).  

And while writing again about her mother, 
she worries that she will erase her completel.
Columbine surrounding the bust of Virginia Woolf, sculpted by Stephen Tomlin.
Photograph by Pamela A. McMorrow


  1. Hi Cynthia, I have been visiting your blog. Congratulations for your work!I love all your stories and the way you write.Keep it up...Enjoy your work in Puerto Rico.Stay healthy,as an expat be sure you are covered with an Expat Health Insurance  .Have a good week ahead.

  2. I tried to imagine until I felt my own worry and fear of loosing my mother...

    It's contradictory isn't it? Sometimes people expect that the more you talk about a dead loved one the more you're not willing to let go of them. Yet, Virginia expresses a whole different feeling. The more she shares with the outside world the more memories she looses from her mother. It must have been an extremely painful thing to notice and reveal.

    Pd. I miss my summer course! ;)

  3. Sophia, thank you for your comment and visit!

    Angelica, I miss your presence in my groups too. I just came back from your blog and it is looking fantastic! Virginia Woolf inspires me because of the depth of her introspection. I just wonder why she finally killed herself. It's such a final decision. She wrote that when she was young that she first was impacted by the power of death...more than one death. I just don't think it is the answer for emotional pain.
    Do you have the company of your older friend that you mentioned in class or did she decide not to come? Take care!

  4. Very interesting! Good to get back to your blog, Cynthia.

  5. I was placed in Honor's English :S though I really wanted to take a class with you it's hard to be sad about being placed in that course. ;)

    Thanks for the blog visit! I worked hard on it the last weeks of summer. My friend, maia arrived safely, thanks for asking. She's moving into a bigger apartment now since the one she got when she first came here is too small. In this new apartment we're getting ready to start a small donations center and free books program. She's trilled to be here and loves Puerto Rico. :D


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