I have a bit of a fascination with Virginia Woolf. Someday I would really like to study her. She is fascinating to me although I must confess I do find her writing to be a challenge to read.
A while ago I stumbled upon a book written by Danell Jones titled The Virginia Woolf Writer’s Workshop: Seven Lessons to Inspire Great Writing. I thought I would share with you a smidge of her chapter, or lesson, on being creative. It has been on my mind lately and according to this chapter, I should write about it.
The chapter begins with Virginia ending her lesson asking the students to bring something to share with the class next time. The students are confused and are wanting more direction from her. They want to know what they should write.
Woolf sits back in her chair. “Write exactly as you think – that is the only way,” she wants to say. But perhaps they would understand it better if she described a kind of experience, a kind of sensation.
“Examine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day,” she begins. “The mind receives a myriad impressions – trivial, fantastic, evanescent, or engraved with the sharpness of steel. Lets us.” she continues, “record the atoms as they fall upon the mind in the order in which they fall, let us trace the pattern.”
The students are curious. Should they write about consciousness?
What I am saying is that “writers are infinitely sensitive; each writer has a different sensibility.” Just as we each perceive the world according to our capacity, she wants to tell them, so, too, we must write according to our vision. But we cannot do that unless we resolve to be true to ourselves and not imitators of others.”
Perhaps that is enough of me copying. I felt so inspired by the words and could almost feel Mrs. Woolf present in the book. Of course not knowing Virginia personally I could not possibly know if the author portrayed her correctly but I did put the book down feeling as if I did know her, Virginia or a bit of the author I can not be sure. But I know her.
I hope you feel inspired to “write exactly as you think” and to honour what you have to say. We need your view of the world!