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

The problem with Spring Break

The problem with Spring Break is that, although you may start with the best intentions, you inevitably fail to get anything done.

On Monday, you open your notebook to work on one of the several creative writing pieces you need to finish.  Then you decide to spend your evening talking to your dad instead.

On Tuesday, you’ve got plans with friends in the cities with a five-hour gap between them.  “Great,” you think, “I’ll find a Starbucks and power through that Virginia Woolf essay!”  Upon arriving at the coffee shop, you realize you remembered everything but your computer.  So instead, you spend twenty minutes planning the essay and the remainder of the day is spent wandering around secondhand bookstores and thrift shops.

Wednesday is a designated pajama day and you mean business.  After all, writing in your pajamas is way better than writing in normal clothes… right?  Yeah, no.  You briefly glance at your copy of To the Lighthouse, then promptly decide to play Skyrim for four hours instead.

Thursday is more hopeful.  You force yourself out of bed, hit the gym, and before you do anything fun, force yourself to work.  Two essay paragraphs and a few new sentences on your creative pieces later, you resign to an afternoon of more video games.

As for Friday… on Friday you realize that you can only say, “Screw it, I’ll do it tomorrow” for so long.  It’s crunch time.  You need to sit down and actually write that essay.  But then you look out at the melting snow and lovely warm (well, warm for Minnesota standards) weather and think…

Screw it.  I’ll do it tomorrow.