A literary breakup

Dear Virginia Woolf,

It’s been a long haul this semester.  We’ve been through a lot together, you and I.  But I think it’s time that we go our separate ways.  It’s not you.  It’s me.  Okay, that’s not true.  It’s totally you.  I think it’s time we break up.

Our first meeting, way back in my Brit Lit II survey course, went exceptionally well.  You sure do know how to make a good first impression.  Thus, I was optimistic.  But then our relationship turned out to be rockier than I expected.  Your short fiction had me stumbling about like a silly lady trying to figure out what was going on.  But I attributed that to your innovativeness, and that I just had to get used to it.  Then there was Jacob’s Room.  Ugh.

It wasn’t all thistles and thorns, though.  We had some good times, Virginia.  We really did.  We were reading Mrs. Dalloway on February 14th and you were my Valentine.  That book took my breath away.  It had me singing stupid love songs, declaring my passion to the skies.

But then To the Lighthouse happened over Spring Break.  Although I appreciated what you were doing there, Virginia, it was a bit of a slog to get through.  I ended up writing my fourteen page final essay on that book.  Mr. Ramsay is a piece of work, so props to you for creating a character that made me feel like I was suffocating while reading his thoughts.  All in all, your rendering of visual perception is fascinating, but kind of took away my will to live.  (In a scholarly sense, that is.)

For a while, Virginia, I thought there was no hope.  I thought we were doomed to fail, you and I.  But then Orlando came along.  I sat there thinking, “I didn’t know Woolf could be funny!”  And you were!  You were downright hilarious!  If you could go back, I encourage you to do more work like Orlando.  It’ll bring more joy to the world.

Ultimately, though, you slaughtered me with The Waves.  What on earth were you thinking?  Why was that a good idea?  I didn’t understand a single bit of it.  And oh my goodness, my professor’s lectures on it only made it worse.  Was it your goal to make a book that’s absolutely impossible to comprehend?  Because if so, you definitely succeeded.  What is the price of your success?  My happiness.  My hope.  My joy.  My dreams.  My will to continue our relationship.  You sacrificed those things by choosing to write The Waves.

So, Virginia, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster.  And, frankly, I think it’s time we take a break from each other.  Some time and distance will help strengthen our relationship.  You wrote some things that were pretty miserable to read and I don’t know if I’m ready to forgive you.  Don’t worry, though, I’ll come back to you someday.  I still remember the way my heart raced as Mrs. Dalloway exclaimed “What a lark!  What a plunge!”  There is good to be found, Virginia.  So take heart.  I’ll be seeing you eventually.  Until then… I think I’ll spend next semester hanging out with the Victorians.  Charles Dickens and I have some catching up to do.

Happy summer,

Amelia

Friday Favorites II

It’s a bit late in the day for this, but how about another round of favorites to celebrate the weekend?

This book:

orlando 3

Yes, another Virginia Woolf novel.  Woolf isn’t nearly my favorite writer out there, but considering I’m in a class devoted to her books… they’re kind of all I’ve been reading these days.  Orlando is a mock biography.  In it, we meet Orlando in Renaissance England and follow his/her life until the time the book was published–1928.  He starts out a young boy in the court of Elizabeth I and ends as a wife and mother in 1920’s London.  I believe Woolf viewed this book as a joke and wrote it for fun.  It’s very different from her other novels, which are highly experimental.  After weeks of To the Lighthouse and such, it was a breath of fresh air.

This girl:

IMG_1473

I’m the one on the left, but the lovely girl on the right is my friend, Anna.  We met while working at the same Bible camp last summer.  She lives in Austria, which is kind of on the other side of the world from snowy Minnesota.  I miss her dearly, but made sure to visit during my stint abroad last semester.  This photo was taken at Schloss Ambras, a castle near where she lives.

We got to Skype today!  It’s amazing that technology enables us to stay in touch with those we love, no matter how far away they are.  We talked about camp memories, what God is doing in our lives, school, and cultural differences between our countries.  She taught me a bit of German, I helped her speak in an American accent.  Although I probably should have spent the time studying, it was an hour well spent.  I’m excited to see her again this summer!

This grocery store:

Willie's

 

It’s the only grocery store in town, which means they can charge as much as they want for fresh produce.  Weekly, this place sucks all my money away.  But it’s also endearing.  There’s something special about small town grocery stores.  And only in Morris will you go looking for grapes and cottage cheese and run into half your professors.

(Then, while waiting for your roommates to finish shopping, said professors gather around you to make awkward small talk.)

This speech:

JFK’s inauguration.  We analyzed the rhetoric in class today and my professor declared that it is one of, if not the, greatest speech ever given.  Apparently, Kennedy spent two weeks writing it himself.  It’s a rather fantastic bit of spoken word, even without the famous “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” line.

Happy Friday!