On a sunny spring-like Saturday, when the air felt warm on my cheeks for the first time in months, I wandered downtown and wound up meandering through my favorite used bookstore.
I love this particular shop because it’s chaotic, never busy and musty.
I can get lost in there, finding myself in the obscurest of pages and most surprising of books.
This particular Saturday, my fingers traced the edges of tattered paperbacks and I vowed to select something randomly. I closed my eyes, still feeling the sun streaking through the dirty windows, illuminating particles of dust in the air.
I opened my eyes and found my hand resting on the shiny, slightly torn book jacket of The Hours, by Michael Cunningham.
The Hours is based on Virginia Woolf’s life and work. It beautifully connects three women, all struggling in different (and similar) ways: Laura, a housewife in postwar California; Clarissa, a modern-day New York City publisher; and Woolf herself, as she writes her novel Mrs. Dalloway.
This book has been blowing my mind for the past few weeks. Woolf has reminded of the incredible power that can be contained in a single sentence.
May these quotes, that have so inspired and saturated my soul, be of benefit to you, as well. I recommend reading them with a piping hot cup of coffee, no matter your mood, first thing in the morning.
“I want to write a novel about Silence,” he said; “the things people don’t say.” ~ The Voyage Out
“It is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.” ~ “A Room of One’s Own”
“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” ~ “A Room of One’s Own”
“Why, if it was an illusion, not praise the catastrophe, whatever it was, that destroyed illusion and put truth in it’s place? ~ “A Room of One’s Own”
“Mrs. Dalloway is always giving parties to cover the silence.” ~ Mrs. Dalloway
“I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me.” ~ The Waves
“Fear no more, says the heart, committing its burden to some sea, which sighs collectively for all sorrows, and renews, begins, collects…” ~ Mrs. Dalloway
“Be truthful, one would say, and the result is bound to be amazingly interesting.” ~ “A Room of One’s Own”
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” ~ “A Room of One’s Own”
“The flower bloomed and faded. The sun rose and sank. The lover loved and went. And what the poets said in rhyme, the young translated into practice.” ~ Orlando
Then get another cup of coffee and read them again.