A Visit from the Goon Squad

10 years ago I became very impressed by Jonathan Franzen’s essays How to Be Alone. For weeks now I have been trying to read his newest novel, Freedom, but the text will not open up. To me there is nothing here but words, lots of words; but no poetry, no music, no sensuality – its just talk…

The Time Is Now!

Have you ever visited Poets & Writers? The most important and underrated factor in a writer’s success is discipline.  Its really very simple: If you want to be a writer … focus on the writing! However, finding the time and inspiration to write is not always easy. That’s where creative writing prompts and exercises can help. The Time Is Now…

First steps

Vincent van Gogh was greatly influenced by the French  J-F Millet. So much so that he copied several of his artworks. It is very interesting to see how true van Gogh is to the original, yet he also manages to make his own version into something totally new, very van-gogh’ish … First Steps, after Millet, Vincent…

Burning cold

Elizabeth Bishop At the Fishhouses (Excerpt) All is silver: the heavy surface of the sea, swelling slowly as if considering spilling over, … Cold dark deep and absolutely clear, element bearable to no mortal, … I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same, slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones, icily free…

Julia Briggs – An Inner Life

Two days ago I got a question: Have you read Julia Briggs’ biography on Woolf – An Inner Life? – to which I had to reply: no. But now I have … well not the whole of it yet – but I definitively will! Briggs is a clear and talented narrator, and she offers clever insights into both…

After a black day

Allegro After a black day, I play Haydn, and feel a little warmth in my hands. The keys are ready. Kind hammers fall. The sound is spirited, green, and full of silence. The sound says that freedom exists and someone pays no tax to Caesar. I shove my hands in my haydnpockets and act like…

Great Expectations

Just the other day Sophie, of Live, Love & Learn, had a nice post on Woolf. In her post Sophie mentioned Alexandra Harris’s biography Virginia Woolf, which I (no surprise…) got very curious about. So I ordered it. (If this Woolf obsession of mine will continue, I really have to try to cleared another meter…

Bloomsbury Pictures

I am, as some of you know, teaching art history & theory, but I have never focused on British art, and never really considered Virginia Woolf’s relation to her contemporary visual artists. But now its time  – Duncan Grant: Study for Composition (Self-Portrait in a Turban), 1910 I received two books in my mailbox today: Bloomsbury…

Theory of Mind

Midway (through) To the Lighthouse it suddenly struck me how extremely well Woolf present us for the complexity of peoples inner life. Of corse we all know her exceptional contribution to the stream of consciousness technique. (Stream of consciousness is characterized by a flow of thoughts and images, which may not always appear to have a coherent structure…

Garden Path in Spring

Duncan Grant: Garden Path in Spring (1944) Duncan Grant was a central figure in the circle of artist and writers known as The Bloomsbury Group, which included Grant’s cousin Lytton Strachey, Maynard Keynes, Roger Fry, Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Virginia’s sister the painter Vanessa Bell and Vanessa’s husband the critic Clive Bell. Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell were…

The pleasures of rereading

My year with Virginia Woolf imply rereading. Quite a lot of it. It is such a pleasure! And there is so much new to focus on, even in the texts I thought I knew fairly well. There is no doubt that my own situation in life influence my way of reading & understanding. Today I…