so never, never stop working with brains or fingers or toes till your limbs fly asunder & the heart sprays off into dust
The last entry seems so long ago… and I hadn’t intended ,, it just : slipped by. Reality, so I thought, was unveiled : V.W. writes this in the context of her anxiety at having “missed” L.W. who was late arriving home. Yes, it is during those episodes when the arrival of the future surprises us with its difference. Suddenly we see reality for what it is, something that can’t be taken for granted, something malleable, changeable, susceptible to the whims of hazzard. / I’ve been collecting references to unveiling ,, not just of reality and not just in the writings of V.W. The notebook (T2) in which I began writing Skinny Dipping a little over a year ago has a title: “Beyond the Veil” , nothing specific to do with V.W. or her diary. I don’t even recall now … unless it had something to do with my intention to resume writing a (serial?) novel I started many years ago (and have yet to finish). This is probably an accident, meaning that “I” didn’t plan it, though the circumstances of my writing may have dictated it : “beyond the veil” could be connected to the principal theme of one half of my magnum opus, (codenamed : ) Eden. In William Blake’s prophetic poem, Jerusalem, he enlarges on the veil metaphor as that which separates Adam from Eve when they were in the garden, that is to say “hymen’s band”. In the next line, the same band is the one through which Jesus breaks to enter creation and also the veil of the Temple which rips in two at the moment of Jesus’ death, symbolically breaking open the gate of Hades so that the dead could (from henceforth) be led, if not back to an earthly paradise, then certainly a heavenly one. At some point, the veil and what lies beyond it becomes something of rorschach.
I wrote the 100th page today. Today being the 15th of October 1923 and the 100th page being one belonging to Mrs. Dalloway. By this time next year, V.W. will have finished Mrs. Dalloway. So goes on to say that “I’ve only been feeling my way into it—up till last August anyhow. It took me a year’s groping to discover what I call my tunneling process, by which I tell the past by installments, as I have need of it. This is my prime discovery so far…” Perhaps because we modern readers have a hundred years of other novels influenced by Mrs. Dalloway, the tunneling process seems natural. Before learning V.W. term for it, I’ve always thought of this mode of narration as a process of crystallization : the story begins as an amorphous solution, the essential elements are dissolved and float out of the sight of the reader, but slowly the parts begin to connect, to come together, and then one sees the picture … yes, it’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. V.W. refers to Percy Lubbock’s “doctrine”. Evidently (I’m only going by what I can find in V.W.’s diary and letters), Lubbock says that the working out of processes and form is a matter of conscious decision, a function of rational faculty. V.W. disagrees : intuition, feeling, emotion are what drives writing forward and form emerges out of feeling. But this is developing into an essay, and may lead much further than I intend.
About three times a week, sometimes while I’m writing, often afterwards when I’m doing the dishes or taking out the trash, I think, all this writing that I’m doing is worthless. Why am I wasting my time with … ? These moments of vertigo, doubt are just part of the process. The writer learns to ride them out. One feels about in a state of misery—indeed I made up my mind one night to abandon the book—& then one touches the hidden spring. The pendulum then swings the other way : I’m going on writing it now till, honestly, I cant write another line…