An Ordinary Tuesday In June

“If [Virginia] Woolf was better acquainted with profound sorrow than most, she was also, by some mysterious manifestation of will, better than almost anyone at conveying the pure joy of being alive. The quotidian pleasure of simply being present in the world on an ordinary Tuesday in June. That’s one of the reasons we who love her, love her as ardently as we do. She knew how bad it could get. And still, she insisted on simple, imperishable beauty, albeit a beauty haunted by mortality, as beauty always is. Woolf‘s adoration of the world, her optimism about it, are assertions we can trust, because they come from a writer who has seen the bottom of the bottom. In her books, life persists, grand and gaudy and marvellous; it trumps the depths and discouragements … In Mrs Dalloway, and other novels of Woolf‘s, we are told that there are no insignificant lives, only inadequate ways of looking at them.” Michael Cunningham

I love Virginia Woolf ardently too, and in his essay about her in Saturday’s Guardian Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours, puts his finger on one of the reasons why her books remain so resonant: despite her deep self-doubts and insecurities, despite periods of depression and mental turmoil, she is somehow able to rise above these personal torments and describe to perfection the delight to be found in an outwardly uneventful life, the miracle of the routinely everyday, “the pure joy of being alive … on an ordinary Tuesday in June.” I also agree strongly with Woolf‘s and Cunningham‘s belief that no life is insignificant, if we would only consider each life from the right perspective, and with empathy, insight and understanding.

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