Let the Reading Begin! Mrs. Dalloway, Day 1

Welcome to my Autumn of Virginia Woolf! We will spend the ENTIRE MONTH on this slim novel, so feel free to take your time. I don’t have a particular reading schedule in mind — schedules were made to be broken, in my experience. Please add your thoughts or questions in the comments, or just read along this fall. (Although autumn is a prettier name for it, isn’t it?)

Here’s the version I’m reading. Show us yours in the comments!

To begin, I will post a series of interesting articles, quotes, etc. Now and again I will pop by with thoughts on sections of the novel itself, of course.

Let me make this abundantly clear — while I am a fan of Woolf’s writing, I am no scholar. Every time I read something of hers, I learn something new, have a new thought. I hope it will be the same for you.

Where did you encounter Woolf for the first time?

For me, it was in a literature class in the 90’s. We read Three Guineas and A Room of One’s Own. In a later class, I read Orlando, and the world of fiction as I knew it exploded.

Still, for no known reason, even though Woolf had changed what I knew of the world, I didn’t seek out any of the rest of her literature. I don’t know why. I acknowledged that she was brilliant, but I didn’t even know she had written more fiction. No one mentioned it, and I had so much reading to do as an English major it didn’t occur to me to check into her further. Of course I now regret that, and yet I suspect I can appreciate and understand her work much better at this age than then, so in the spirit of “All’s well that ends well,” I also don’t regret it.

And I hadn’t forgotten her along the way after leaving school. When the film of Orlando came out, of course my hubby and I watched it, mesmerized. I re-read Orlando, and yet I still didn’t think to see if she had written more novels. Go figure.

That being said, when I returned to school many years later, I wrote my senior thesis on To the Lighthouse and was asked by my advisor to read and include Mrs. Dalloway as well. At the time I felt put upon, because my life was hella hectic. But after I read it I was grateful. (Lighthouse is still my favorite, but Dalloway is also important and innovative.) I’m eager to revisit the book, focusing on it alone.

Here’s a link to an article to ten interesting facts about Mrs. Dalloway I think you’ll enjoy. I learned a lot from it.

P.S. I do not at all promise to post every day, but I will be back every few days at the least.

Have you started reading it yet?

An Autumn of Woolf Schedule

I’m so excited to be committing to an autumn of Virginia Woolf! I can’t wait to share this time with all who care to join in.

We will study a book a month for four months. Read and chime in any time throughout the month. Your comments, observations, photos, article links, and the like are welcome.

Remember: join me here or on Facebook in the Painted Word Salon.

September 20 Mrs Dalloway

October 18 To the Lighthouse

November 22 Orlando

December 20 A Room of One’s Own

True, these on the schedule are her better-known works, but what’s to stop us from talking about her other books in the future?

Do you have a favorite not listed here?

My Autumn of Woolf

Many of you know that I am borderline obsessed with Virginia Woolf’s writing. To me, nobody, and I mean nobody, writes like her.

A sampling of my Woolf books

Before COVID-19 hit, author Gretchen Rubin had announced that she was going to have a summer of Woolf, which she subsequently postponed until fall.

Having just (I think) finished a tight draft of my second novel, I’m already feeling lost. Since Woolf plays a part in my book, what better way to feel I am still doing something constructive than to read all of her works this autumn? Thanks for the idea, Gretchen!

And Gretchen Rubin isn’t the only one contemplating a fall of Woolf. Literature Cambridge is also offering a series on Woolf’s major works: https://bloggingwoolf.wordpress.com/2020/08/17/virginia-woolf-season-with-litcamb-covers-her-12-major-works/

I have 2 1/2 bookshelves dedicated to not only Woolf’s novels and essays but also her letters and diaries. My intention is to eventually revisit all of her available writings. I have no idea where I will start; I think I will start with her first novel and the first volume of her letters and her journal for the corresponding time period.

And of course I will keep up with the Literature Cambridge schedule. I’m so excited! I love learning.

The hubby is also getting in on the Woolf action. He is currently reading Orlando. And he’s been reading volume one of her letters to me a bit at a time, which I find downright precious.

What are you planning to read this fall?

Standing Desks and Other Affectations

hemingway-standing-deskVirginia Woolf had one. Papa Hemingway had one. I’ve been contemplating one myself for a few years now, but not because they had one, and not because they’re trendy. I want a standing desk because they are better for one’s health, and because when I sit down to write, I can lose hours and arise, shall we say, stiff and sore?

Did you know that standing burns up to an extra 50 calories an hour? That alone would sell me on one, let alone the fact that I was sick on the couch the last two days (mostly) writing and that the last thing my restless body wants is to sit ever again!

I have flirted with a writing desk: there is a table on our sun porch that kinda works as one, except I’m afraid that if I get used to it I won’t go to my favorite cafe anymore, and that I might not shower or ever get out of the house, you know, the whole recluse thing. Because I could be that kind of writer. (That is NOT a good thing!)

If I thought no one would make fun of me at my favorite cafe, I’d bring in a box or a milk crate and use it as a standing desk,but I would feel as if I were at a lectern and I am afraid they might think that of me as well. So I may just have to stand at work, rather than when I write. Well, a woman’s got to start somewhere, hasn’t she?