Vast moon-spider

Vast moon-spider

Something wonderfully round and opalescent about these glowing pearls likened to the pearly eggs of a ‘vast moon-spider’. ‘… so that her pearls glowed like the eggs of some vast moon-spider.’ Source: Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A Biography,...
Varied like an ocean floor

Varied like an ocean floor

And the more we learn about the ocean floor, the better it seems as a metaphor for variety.  Curious to think of Virginia Woolf using this since so much less was known of ocean floors in her lifetime and they didn’t have the incredible underwater images we now...
Plump with meaning

Plump with meaning

When there is substance behind them, the most ordinary words acquire meaning, and so satisfy the senses as ripe nuts falling in the lap of a hungry man might satisfy hunger. This idea of commonplace words placed uncommonly and so providing nourishment for the mind or...
Our many selves

Our many selves

This short discourse on our fragmented and multiplicitous selves struck me, and their resemblance to plates piled on a waiter’s hand conveys something of the precarious state they can create in the single person accommodating them all.  Later on, Orlando manages...
A voice answering a voice?

A voice answering a voice?

More than just the writing of poetry, isn’t writing in general often ‘a voice answering a voice’? This touching quotation comes towards the end of Orlando and the end of Orlando’s long endeavours to complete her poem.  It is the first and last...
Writing with one’s whole person

Writing with one’s whole person

A lovely view of how writing can feel when you are in the full flow of it, writing from the heart as much as with the pen.  Marvelous moments when time suspends and everything but the words and medium for writing them down are in front of you. ‘For it would seem...
Writing to kick up your heels

Writing to kick up your heels

Having just re-read Virginia Woolf’s Orlando after a third-of-a-century hiatus, I revelled in the liveliness and playfulness of both the author’s voice and that of the eponymous subject of this fictive biography.  The introduction highlights the extent to...
Shorter but longer

Shorter but longer

This pithy summary of the difference between prose and poetry is as much as Orlando gleans from the convoluted accounts of a poet to whom he has opened his home, larder, wine cellar, purse and poetic aspirations, in the hope of some helpful guidance.  Not forthcoming....
Of berries and wine

Of berries and wine

Having a love of ink, the variety of its hues and the names people give them, and the chunky inventive shapes of ink bottles, I was enchanted by this notion of making your own ink from berries and wine.  I imagine blueberries, blackcurrants or elderberries would be...

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