woolf waves

I’ve been listening to Max Richter’s glorious new album. It’s inspired by the work of Virginia Woolf. Specifically, Mrs Dalloway, Orlando, and The Waves. It’s tremendous, as are all things Richter does. The final movement–and perhaps his most emotional piece in years–is in the above video. It begins with the reading of Virginia Woolf’s suicide note, which I’ll copy in full here:

Dearest,

I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that – everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer.

I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.

It’s always struck me as a profound and devastating statement of love and illness.

I don’t have a lot to say about it, really. Or, I do, but I’ve said it before in a dozen other blog posts over the seven years I’ve had this site.

I’ve been writing my novel to this album. It’s a completely normal thing for me to listen to a Richter album on repeat for days, and he’s been the soundtrack to more than a few of the novels I’ve written. I don’t know if my work is capturing anything as well or as beautifully as Woolf or Richter, but I’m very pleased with the words coming out of me lately.

I feel fortunate that I’ve managed to avoid any serious bouts with depression over the last years, and it’s certainly what’s allowed me to be so productive.

I’m nearly 40,000 words into the new novel. I’m hoping to have it finished before May, which seems doable, even though the novel may balloon up to about 200,000 words.

As is almost always the case, I sort of saw this as a short novel, but I quickly grow comfortable with the size of this novel. I said that I’d keep it underwraps this time, rather than share the process of writing this novel while I write it, and I think I’ll keep to that.

I will say, though, that every chapter presents a very difficult challenge. It’s the kind of writing I simply was not capable of writing even a year ago. It’s the kind of writing that is exhausting, but ultimately rewarding. Complex yet simple. Dangerous yet loving.

I want this novel to be a surprise, and I think it will be. I think I’m doing something that is rarely, if ever, done, and that pleases me. I’m also writing in a mode that I’ve never written in before. In many ways, I think it’s my most daring and most normal novel, and I like that juxtaposition quite a lot.

 

i suppose an update

goes here. Work on the novel goes slow because I seem always exhausted and also short of time so I can only get a few hours to actually work at a time, usually three to four hours a day, and I’ve been averaging around 2,000 words a day, which isn’t terrible, I guess, but it’s so unbearably slow, and it’s making what already began as a very strange novel into an ever stranger one, endlessly fragmented.

Anycase, all kinds of things me have been going online. Or, not really. Just three things, but that seems like a lot, especially since this is just since yesterday.

A review of Michael Moorcock’s The Warlord of the Air:

A revolutionary pirate dreams of equality and gathers the world’s intellectuals into a sprawling anarchic society poised to fight off the empires that live in such grandeur by destroying and subjugating the rest of the world, from China to South America. What began as an interesting voyage becomes a revolutionary war where dirigibles and atom bombs erupt, where Ronald Reagan is a brutish boy scout, where the Vladimir Lenin is a failed and despondent old man.

A review of Karin Tidbeck’s Jagannath:

Jagannath will envelope you. It will breathe new and old life into you, transforming whatever was there before. These are stories of great power and beauty and terror, so do not take it lightly. While it can be read on the beach or couch or in bed, this is not a casual read. Tidbeck takes us on thirteen distinct journeys that do not so much bend reality as show you the uncanny worlds that lay hidden behind reality’s sheen.

The best books I read in 2012.

Oh, too, finally found Max Richter’s ballet Infra online.

I love how barebones this is–nothing but the stage, the music, and the bodies.


I’ve listened to this ballet, Infra, hundreds if not thousands of times and it wasn’t till now, seeing it performed, that I really feel I understand it. It’s opened up immensely and transformed in my head from something that was merely beautiful to this glory.


I never realised how much it was about control, how much it had to say about life in the 21st century, how concerned it is with alienation, and I cried three times in the half hour this takes to watch. It’s amazing and perfect, and Marianela Nunez is perfect, as she always is, as she had to be. I feel so much right now it’s hard to even put it in to words.

More essays and criticisms should be on their way as I write them. I have big plans and once I get the time to write them, I should be dumping them all over.

Anycase, I hate my job and so am looking for a new one. If you have a job or know of one that needs a human, let me know.

This has more tags than anything on my whole site.