virginia woolf: “we are the words”

i want to write a story on the pages of this tree

Whenever I’m working on something new, the quasi-academic part of me takes over, and I start doing research. Sitting on or around my desk currently are books about everything from the Mexican Revolution to neuroscience. I read a lot. I put the books away. I begin to write. I came across this quote from Virginia Wool in Rainer’s Your Life as Story, and it spoke truth to me. The excerpt below is from “A Sketch of the Past.”

Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me. It is the rapture I get when in writing I seem to be discovering what belongs to what; making a scene come right; making a character come together. From this I reach what I might call a philosophy; at any rate it is a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool [of daily life] is hidden a pattern; that we–I mean all human beings–are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art. Hamlet or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven; certainly and emphatically there is no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.

About Jane Hammons

I write. I teach. I teach writing.
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