And just now I pick up the blessed diary of Virginia Woolf which I bought with a battery of her novels saturday with Ted. And she works off her depression over rejections from Harper’s (no less! —an I hardly can believe that the Big Ones get rejected, too!) by cleaning out the kitchen. And cooks haddock & sausage. Bless her. I feel my life linked to her, somehow. I love her — from reading Mrs. Dalloway for Mr. Crockett — and I can still hear Elizabeth Drew’s voice sending a shiver down my back in the huge Smith class-room, reading from To The Lighthouse. But her suicide, I felt, I was reduplicating in that black summer of 1953. Only I couldn’t drown. I suppose I’ll always be over-vulnerable, slightly paranoid. But I’m also so damn healthy & resilient.
Sylvia Plath is one of my favourite authors. She’s the one who probably appears most on this blog. And now I’m tackling the near-900 page book of her unabridged journals.
Today is the 10th day I’ve been out of the hospital for depression. In the hospital, one of the books I read was Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse — in fact, it was the best thing I read while there. This past Monday, I went to the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse; the plan was to go to the beach and when I found out the beach had a lighthouse I had to go, because of Virginia Woolf. And that morning it rained. It stormed and thundered and poured down at 5 am, and by 10 it was grey and spitting: all I could think of was the beginning of the novel, with the question of, ‘Will we be able to make it to the lighthouse?’ By noon it was sunny and 30˙ and the beach was beautiful and hot, and I did make it to the lighthouse where Mrs. Ramsay did not.
Before I was admitted to the hospital, I was too depressed to clean. No energy, no motivation, no point. So I left the hospital and returned home to clutter and mess and trash. I am beginning to feel better, and I am beginning to live better. In depression you lose your vitality. Now I go out, I talk to people, I try to eat properly. I read and watch movies, sometimes I paint. And I clean. To clean is a marker of change, and I want to change the way I lived (I’m out of the hospital, I can live like a normal person). So I’m making progress in the cleaning of my apartment as I continue attempting to recover from depression.
And I read The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath.
This morning I got to the passage above. Everything cycles. She reads Woolf’s journals about being depressed and cleaning and I read her journals about reading Woolf’s journals while depressed and cleaning while I am depressed and cleaning. I read To The Lighthouse and go to the lighthouse then read about her reminiscing about To the Lighthouse. ‘Bless her. I feel my life linked to her, somehow. I love her,’ she says about Woolf which I could have said about her. The trajectory of Woolf, depressed and cleaning, consumed by Plath, depressed and cleaning, consumed by me, depressed and cleaning; the trajectory of me consuming Woolf and being struck by the lighthouse then consuming Plath who consumes Woolf and thinking back to The The Lighthouse — circles and repetitions of history by coincidence. But the most important thing to remember is:
I suppose I’ll always be over-vulnerable, slightly paranoid. But I’m also so damn healthy & resilient.