Well my dears, unless you don’t look at twitter etc at all, I suppose it might have escaped your notice that today’s birthday is celebrated on behalf of the magnificent Virginia Woolf.
I hope she needs no introduction? I’ve had her picture on my wall for about thirty years. If you don’t know who she is, go and read someone else’s blog, or even better go and read some of her books – you can come back when you are suitably impressed.
Virginia’s many talents, her feminism and her commonsense would be quite sufficient to get her an invitation, but happily we can add in an affair with Vita Sackville-West, (The inspiration for her novel Orlando); and one of the most delightful quotations known to woman:
My dear Vita, I have a perfectly romantic and no doubt untrue vision of you in my mind – stark naked, brown as a satyr and very beautiful. Don’t tell me this is all illusion. No doubt this bores you – but I cannot keep it to myself.
It might it be sacrilege to suggest that I enjoy Virginia’s essays, letters and diaries more than some of her novels, but there it is: I find the modernist novels a bit brittle, self-conscious and artificial, although despite that very readable – I’ve read The Waves and To the Light House several times – whereas her sense of humour and incisiveness are more apparent in her non-fiction – and I find the self she reveals in these works very appealing. So it is for herself rather than her fiction that Ms Woolf makes the guest list. I think she would be great fun to have around, providing she was feeling up to it.
Virginia is also the inspiration for two of my stories – Member of the Family (rather in passing – I wrote it after a trip to Rodmell -Virginia’s last home – with the Lesbian History Group. The house is not Rodmell, and Sarah is not Virginia, but all the modern-day characters are people I have passed on the stairs at places like Rodmell) and Neutral Territory, in which the house is an amalgamation of Rodmell and Small Hythe, and Greta isn’t Virginia, but Virginia could be Greta – there’s a nice post-modernist twist for you.
I don’t know why, but I have an urge to serve Eccles cakes at that tea party. Would Ms Woolf approve?