From Virginia Woolf, more than any other prose writer, I learned, vicariously and empathically, how the human mind, stream-of-consciousness, and imagination work together to produce our not-commonly-understood inner life.
In her work, I found a successful blend of thoughts, feelings, and sensibility that most accurately portrays how people experience life on a daily basis. I also found echoes and reflections I have personally experienced of life at its fullest in variable personal contexts with the most sensuous, realistic, poetic, and precious details. Her sensibility and empathy came closest to my own of all prose writers I have encountered.
There is an aliveness and shimmering quality that no other prose writer has communicated so clearly and thoroughly in one work after another. Writing and literature that balancedly captures the flow of feelings and thoughts, their interminglings, their juxtapositions, and strange sudden transitions. Reading Woolf has long been a meditation for me as well as a source of significant epiphanies, and a recurringly fresh coming up for air.
In fact, Woolf was and still is the supreme poet of prose writers as evidenced in The Waves, To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, A Room of One’s Own, and her marvellous ‘breathing’, ‘shining’ essays such as “Street Haunting”, “The Captain’s Death Bed”, and “Death of the Moth”.
To read her is and has been for me to enter a much finer, more refined, more lofty, reflective higher plane of regard. This always sends me off in search of great poets and poems, the great artists and paintings, the great architecture, and the great music, musicians, and composers. A significant aesthetic choice for sure these last 50 years, of which I am still firmly committed to. A choice that has brought me much satisfaction, pleasure, beauty, delight, wonder, meaning, purpose, truth, and significance. Enough to more than define a life. Both hers and mine.