“I have just exclaimed: “And now I can think of nothing else.” Waves, The: excitement of writing. But then she gets sick for most of February, and struggles to recover. More entries for illness. It’s amazing to see them pile up, and calculate how much of her life was spent either sick in various ways, or recovering, struggling to get her brain back in gear, and feeling ashamed of herself because Leonard “brushed off” the flu in “one day, and went about his business feeling ill.”
Back to the challenges of style and structure (with form: See structure). She reads Shakespeare, William after writing, “when my mind is agape, and red-hot. Then it is astonishing. I never yet knew how amazing his stretch and speed and word coining power is until I felt it utterly outpace and outrace my own…Indeed, I could say that Shakespeare surpasses literature altogether, if I knew what I meant.”
At last, she finishes the first draft of Waves, The, “the greatest stretch of mind I ever knew.” This time, she reminds herself to find another project immediately, to avoid a plunge, “something imaginative and light.” (mental states: stabilized by writing) But instead she struggles with criticism, and wants to start revising, and… there is a long gap until August 20, when she starts to talk structure again. I check the complete diaries out of curiosity, and Leonard did not skip anything, there weren’t many entries, and what there is talks about socializing and mushrooms and newts in the bathroom.
Again, I’m amazed at all the week- and month-long interruptions in her writing life, all through every year. I read that Darwin worked about three hours a day, with much more consistently schedules, and the author was agog over how little that was, and look at his career! VW could only dream of such a consistent work life, even with no children, and hired help.
That’s only my impression though, not hers! “‘Nobody has ever worked so hard as I do”–exclaimed in driving a paper fastener through the 14 pages of my Hazlitt just now.” (productivity and time, use of) Sometimes she is frustrated by her inability to write, sometimes she travels and socializes and shops for a few weeks and regards it as “catching my breath.” Because she can.
She compulsively egosurfs, as much as an author could in this year. “It is presumably a bad thing to look through articles, reviews, etc. to find one’s own name. Yet I often do.”
She goes on revising, with various interruptions, one after being annoyed with Arnold Bennett at a party he gave with Ethel Sands–“Heaven knows I don’t care a rap if I’m on terms with B. or not.” But she writes two pages about what was said, which is going under conversations. And now I want to reread Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown… And read the Arnold Bennett I stacked up after being impressed and surprised by The Old Wives’ Tale, a few years ago…