I must admit that I’m a little bit afraid of Virginia Woolf – residual damage from being forced to read To The Lighthouse in the Upper Sixth, I think. All that fuss over a major character, to kill her off in a paragraph and not mention her again. Oh, groundbreaking literary style, I know, but oh Lord, so difficult to understand! I would rather have read more Chaucer and if that isn’t a searing enditement of my struggle with that
damned book literary masterpiece, I don’t know what is.
(Looking back, I may have disliked my A Level Lit syllabus far more than I realised at the time. But hey, Don’t Look Back In Anger…oh wait, I didn’t like that one either….)
The one thing that I do agree with Virginia Woolf on is her idea that to write fiction, a woman was in need of a “room of her own”.
Now, I’ve benefited from the sort of education that Woolf was challenging the world to give to women. Because of that education I have a job that allows me to support myself independently of a husband. Of course, that job isn’t best-selling novelist, more’s the pity! But that job lets me borrow a shockingly large amount of money from a bank to buy my own late Victorian house brick by crumbling brick. In that house, I have a room of my own to write in, although I don’t tend to use it. I’m far more likely to be found on the couch downstairs with my netbook on my lap than in the spare bedroom where the desk and The World’s Oldest Computer live. Perhaps it’s because there are so many bits and bobs related to my job in there that I just don’t feel comfortable writing fiction in it. Perhaps it’s the dusty vibration plate machine staring balefully at me from the corner of the room sending me – hah – bad vibes.
I think I’m going to have to do something with that room – repaint it, perhaps, or move the job-related junk to another place. I could certainly shift the furniture around. I’m a dab hand at that, a gift from my loving mother who isn’t happy unless she’s rotated the living room furniture three times a year.
I can’t stay on the couch for much longer – my back is killing me! I’m certainly going to have to accept Woolf’s idea and create a room of my own.