“At last, at last…I am now writing as fast and freely as I have written in the whole of my life.” This is the year of To the Lighthouse. She evaluates herself (more for self-appraisal), chats (conversations) with Moore, George E. at a party about Hardy and James and Conrad and Tolstoy and Brontë, Anne.
“But what is to become of all these diaries…if I died, what would Leo make of them?…Well, he should make up a book from them, I think; and then burn the body.”
(Dear Leonard, thank you for only taking the first half of that instruction to heart.)
April 30 exists in A Writer’s Diary… but it’s not in my paperback edition of the diaries! Why not? What else is left out? And in this entry she talks about a trip to Iwerne Minster, and about how “yesterday I finished the first part of To The Lighthouse, and today began the second.”
Her newfound fluency in writing confuses her — she is aware of the technical difficulties of what she wants to do, and is stunned when it comes easily: “the most difficult abstract piece of writing…I rush at it, and at once scatter out two pages. Is it nonsense, is it brilliance?”
A long account of a friendly visit to Thomas and Florence Hardy and Wessex, their dog. He knew her parents. She wants them to talk about books and writing, but they keep talking about the dog. Nothing new under the sun. At the end, she gets his autograph, which is awkward, and he misspells her last name. But her overall impression is a good one: “Freedom, ease, and vitality.”
In the next entry, she goes back to thinking about her own art, and becomes more of an indexing challenge (consciousness: transcription of )
reading: living authors –she rarely bothers. Even though she’s reading the classic Clarissa, and is bored by it, but feels it’s important for no clear reason. Reading a current novel, “My wonder is that entirely second rate work like this, poured out in profusion by at least 20 people yearly…has so much merit…it will not exist in 2026; but it has some existence now, which puzzles me a little.”
What would you look that up under? second rate writing? I’ll stick it there for now, and cross-reference it with popularity because I have a feeling people may look for it there. Though most of her thoughts on popularity so far, concern how much it matters to her. And authors: living at least for now.
And at long last, here is a bit where she notices her own snobbery, and how it harms her powers of observation (self-appraisal) “My instinct at once throws up a screen, which condemns them… but all this is a great mistake. These screens shut me out.”
I am happy for her. This is part of what makes her first-rate.
She had more hobbies than people mention–knitting of course, and here she is wanting to make a shell frame for a mirror. We all contain multitudes.
“After tapping my antennae in the air vaguely for an hour every morning I generally write with heat and ease until 12:30; and thus do my two pages.” time, use of, productivity, there’s a few places to put that. She has a distracting, pleasant summer, but she gets the book done, and by November she’s into the revision process again, six pages a day, “much of it very sketchy and have to improvise on the typewriter.”