Thursday, December 13, 2012

to proceed with the utmost quiet

"...a novelist's chief desire is to be as unconscious as possible. He has to induce in himself a state of perpetual lethargy. He wants life to proceed with the utmost quiet and regularity. He wants to see the same faces, to read the same books, do the same things day after day, month after month, while he is writing, so that nothing may break the illusion in which he is living - so that nothing may disturb or disquiet the mysterious nosings about, feelings round, darts, dashes, and sudden discoveries of that very shy and illusive spirit, the imagination."  

~ Virginia Woolf

I came across this quotation by Woolf yesterday while looking for another passage in one of my favourite books on writing  - Stranger at the Door - by one of my most cherished writers, Kristjana Gunnars. (under recommended reading, above).  It speaks to me completely. This need to inhabit that near-dream realm, to stay with the work in that way. To have days on end to read the books I've already read.

Maybe my desire for 'utmost quiet' is stronger, because, as we all know, it's next to impossible to sustain any sameness over the holidays.

That said, I really can't wait to spend some time with our daughter.  Who has expressed same. There will be quiet enough in January, I suspect.


  1. What a gorgeous quotation, Shawna...made me gasp. So wonderful too that your girl wants time with you--not all teenagers do!

  2. May the warmth of the Christmas season fill your hearts and home with peace, love, and joy -- and a true sense of calm. She is correct to yearn for that time as well.

  3. Enjoy your time with that giant penguin!


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