I should like it to resemble some deep old desk, or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through. (Virginia Woolf) We become ourselves through others, and the self is a porous thing, not a sealed container (Siri Hustvedt) En vez de mirarme en mi espejo quiero que mi espejo se mire en mí (Alejandra Pizarnik)
To begin with another question (just read the last pages) why am I sitting here at 10.30 on a Sunday morning, rather stiff in the back, rather sore of the lips, writing diary, not novel? Because of dear Tom largely; 24 hourse (short interval for sleep) solid conversation, preluded by 2 hours flimsy conversation with the Hutchinsons. And at 1.30 Rosamond & Wogan to lunch; & at 4.30 Charleston to tea. Hence I am sitting here. Tomorrow, in the divine peace of Monday, I shall walk on the downs & think of Tom & my parched lips with some degree of pleasure. Yes, it was worth it, ghough when a second day seemed on the cards my tongue fainted & my heart stood still. He is 10 years younger: hard, spry, a glorified boy scout in shorts & yellow shirt. He is enjoying himself very much. He is tight & shiny as a wood louse (I am not writing for publication). But there is well water in him, cold & pure. Yes I like talking to Tom. But his wing sweeps curved & scimitar like round to the centre himself. He’s settling in with some severity to being a great man. Keats wasnt that. We talked about Keat’s letters. Tom said that letter writing was a form he preferred to Times leader writing. I think this hints some change in his views. He said that he no longer (thought) felt quite so sure of a science of criticism. He also said that people exaggerate the intellectuality & erudition of his poetry. “For example Ross Williamson in this book on me…” He says that very seriously. I couldn’t quote Holtby with the same candour. Ross apparently attributed the dog, in Tom’s quotation from Webster, to profound associations with the dog star. Not a bit of it says Tom: I was having a joke about Webster. I connect all this with his bubbling up of life. At 46 he wants to live, to love; even seeing Rochester is an event to him. He has seen nothing, nobody, for the last 10 years. We had it aobut V. at breakfast. Some asperity on Tom’s part. He wont admit the excuse of insanity for her-thinks she puts it on; tries to take herself in; for this reason, mystifies Eth Bowen. I thought him a little resentful of all the past waste & exaction. I gather he will see a good deal of us: & if I had time, & if I could move the heavy stone of his self esteem an inch or two higher, I should like to talk out Tom about writing. Only there’s always the reservation-I cant talk about “my writing”; so that talk about his writing palls. But I am to find him 2 rooms in Somers Town. And we agreed about the infamy of teaching English; the idiocy of lectures; the whole hierarchy of professor, system & so on: at any rate I got him to go some way with me in denouncing Oxford & Cambridge. He learnt self confidence at Oxford; how to write plain English-that’s all. I daresay though he will become Prof. Of Poetry at Oxford one of these days.
Entry dated Sunday 10 September 1933. The Diary of Virginia Woolf Volume 4 (1931-1935)