for sound track click at the end of the post
Thank you to Interesting Literature, for bringing this across my desk.
“If he had not been consumed by ambition and convinced that one day some newly-discovered rubbish heap would reward him, the disappointments he had suffered, let alone the fatigue and derision, would have made him give up the pursuit.”
As a former literary scholar, as a person who questions the worth and meaning of the responsibilities of every day life, and as a person who collects and struggles with a clutter of odd things I find valuable, I am grateful to think about this story. My solid objects are china, truly interesting (to me) rocks, and art supplies or now-useless items with ‘potential’ for found art. Without that collecting and cluttering, might I give up the pursuit, not just of my collecting but of bothering with life at all?
It’s a somewhat middle class / first world problem, though. To a hammer everything looks like a nail, so I assume Virginia Woolf must have struggled in a similar, though probably harsher, ‘trap.’ She seems to have been too sheltered and just barely financially secure enough that she had no need to fight for life, but too smothered by gender and class norms and too unskilled to really break out into an independent life.
Writing and mental illness were the arenas where she fought her good fight. There was no resolution. There was only cessation.
I certainly question the worth of my aesthetic, my beliefs, my collections, my efforts, efforts I make and efforts I shirk. I wonder if she did as well. The lion’s share of my sense of meaning in my life comes from creative work- but the lion’s share and more of my time and energy are spent in the repetitive acts of living. I am sifting my solid objects and my life every day, trying to discern whether and in which areas to bother. How very 2019.
Some early Trap Music and a reference