She begins with January 20, and some of her chronic health problems. A tooth extraction, followed by a two-week on and off headache that kept her in bed and unable to write, or go out to buy a new blank diary book. The doctor has at last allowed her one hour of writing a day.
Among others, I add a main heading for illness, with subheadings headaches and dental. More will be coming for that. Time for writing, prescribed by doctors ? that will almost certainly need rewording! Is writing time too close to the metatopic? Well. One for books, with subheadings purchase of and blank and a See also specific titles and I’m sure I’ll be adding to that “see also.” Shopping? purchases? both for now.
She comments that this diary doesn’t count as real writing (and Leonard is out of the house) because it is written too fast and carelessly, though that has its advantages too. She informs her future 50 year old self that if her diary is useless for writing her memoirs, “I can only condole with her and remind her of the existence of the fireplace…” But she envies herself that project, the idea of writing her memoirs takes away some of the horror of her 37th birthday. She plans to write out an account of her friendships “for the benefit of this elderly lady…50 is elderly, though I anticipate her protest and agree that it is not old.” Aging. Birthdays. Memoir. Friendships.
The next entry has her just back from five days in the country with Leonard, still rattled by the railroad trip and unable to read anything in her TBR stack: everything by Dickens, George Eliot, Hardy and Gaskell, plus others by Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, Pound, –all those names to index in one sentence! If this is the only time she mentions them, I may take them out again due to lack of content here, but we’ll see, page by page…
Her “Aunt Anny” has died, and the footnote says “Lady Ritchie, Thackeray’s daughter.” Virginia has just written her obituary, but has no real emotion about it, didn’t really know her, partly, Virginia says, because she did not want to be known. But, Virginia writes down what she does remember of her. family.
“Aunt Anny” though. Who is this person. Back to the index for Volume One of the more complete Diary. Andrew McNeillie the indexer (and poet) has her as Ritchie, Lady (Aunt Anny), née Anne Isabella Thackeray. Only he changed “Anny” to “Annie”–I’ll stick with Woolf’s spelling, and cut that down to a version of the Library of Congress record for her: Ritchie, Anne Thackeray (Aunt Anny). Because my first impulse was to look for her maiden name, and someone else might do the same, I’ll also add her at Thackeray, Anne (Aunt Anny) and if she’s mentioned much more I’ll redirect readers with a “see” to the first one. If she isn’t, I’ll leave her double-posted.
You think that’s bad, try indexing a book on medieval Spain, or 17th century French Canada. Will I ever look her up again? Who knows. She was a writer herself, as well as minding her father’s legacy. Can sympathize.
“Hester” — oh, her cousin. Visits to Asheham and Charleston. More writers, Bernard Shaw, Carlyle. She comes down hard on the “Barnetts,” a religious charitable couple she’s been reading about, possibly for review. Night and Day is done, and Leonard likes it, with certain caveats about its philosophy, so twin subheadings for him and the novel about his opinions, she did care about them, and argued with them too. She’s meeting with her balding brother, Duckworth, Gerald about publishing it.
“I certainly don’t anticipate even two editions,” she says. I should index that thought, she has them a lot, as do most writers. Self-appraisal? For now. “Is the time coming when I can endure to read my own writing in print without blushing–shivering and wishing to take cover?”
We’re only at the end of March.