Dear Virginia Woolf,
It’s me again. I’m sitting between all my books about you not knowing where to start. Maybe in the order of time? Or from popularity? Where should I start? Your years of finally making it in the writing scene, years before your suicide or the teenage years when writing was just a dream of yours?
Like I told you, I already read your diary entries from 1915-1918. It has taught me a lot but also left many unanswered questions.
Can I really trust you Virginia?
Monday 18th of March in 1918 you speak about Hilton Young. The diary entry mentions that you haven’t spoken since 1908. That day you have a nice conversation with him and leave it at that. It takes some googling before I discover that Hilton Young proposed in 1908. He wanted to get married with you. Virginia, you said no and then didn’t speak with him for 10 years. Or was there a different reason for your fight?
Whatever the reason is, you don’t mention any of this. It makes me wonder. Can I truly trust you? What else are you not telling me?
What happened in 1916? That’s the other thing bugging me. There’s no diary entries, no stories of your first novel getting published. You never mention it. Sometimes you write, sometimes get a good idea but mostly you don’t write about writing. Were you as stuck as me? Did writing feel impossible at times?
This letter has more questions than it should. And you can’t even answer me. Virginia, I don’t know why I’m writing to you or why I’m so interested in you. Tomorrow I will start reading your first diary and letters from that era.
Dear Virginia Woolf,
You don’t know who I am. And two months ago I didn’t know you either. We are just two writers almost a century apart. 54 years, 2 months, 13 days – that’s how long there was between us. You killed yourself after forever of struggling in March 1941, I was born not knowing all the hardships I would face in June 1995.
Mrs. Woolf or can I call you Virginia? Both of us share many similar traits. Writers, issues with mental health, seeing the world from a different perspective. But you will never know this because you’re dead. And even I don’t yet know how deep our bond truly goes.
1915-1918 those are the years from your diaries I have read so far. But it feels like I should have started from somewhere far before.
It was a sunny day in June when I first saw your diaries in a bookstore. All 5 of them were in the discount aisle. The back cover told me you were a writer but that’s all. I had never heard of you and dead people have never been an interest of mine. Still, something in these books screamed for me. I took the first one and continued my stroll around the store. It’s just a few euros, that’s what I thought.
When I finally got to the counter something didn’t feel right. Those 4 remaining diaries kept bugging me. Call it intuition, destiny or my addiction to books but my mind kept telling me to take all five of your diaries home. And so I did.
Next thing I knew, I couldn’t stop reading your first entries in 1915. Maybe I saw myself in you or you in myself or the text just felt so real. Virginia Woolf, you interest me.
It took only a week from me to know that this was now a thing. You and me had become a thing so I had to find as much information about you as possible. Not my proudest moment when one night I ordered your early diary, essay collections and letter collections to go together with the diaries already in my bookshelf. 16 books of you all together. 16 books full of text written by you.
Reading someone’s writing is the closest way to be with them. 54 years, 2 months, 13 days between us but I can feel you in my bones.