• Jennifer

    How I love Virginia Woolf! It’s interesting to read her quoted here, especially as she is known for such sadness and melancholy.

  • JK

    Might as well put up Sylvia Plath next.

    • gretchenrubin

      What’s really striking about reading Virginia Woolf’s diaries is how often
      she wrote about how intensely happy she was. She felt everything so deeply.
      The periods of despair, then joy.

      Also striking, she often wrote notes to herself, in her diary, to remind
      herself of ways to climb out of those dark periods.

      For instance, she wrote in her diary about how she’d managed to get herself
      out of a funk, then noted, “A hint for the future. Always relieve pressure
      by a flight. Always violently turn the pillow: hack an outlet. Often a
      trifle does..These are travelers notes which I offer myself should I again
      be lost.” Virginia Woolf, January 26, 1940

      Of course — to us, this is very poignant. Look at the date. Her suicide was
      March 28, 1941.

      • Keesbach

        “she often wrote notes to herself, in her diary, to remind
        herself of ways to climb out of those dark periods.”

        I’ve done this too, but I can’t kill myself (or maybe later).

        Thanks for the quote. I’ve read Orlando from Woolf, and enjoyed it immensely.

  • How did that work out for her?

  • KJ

    Not being a student of Virginia Woolf, or her genre of literature in general, I need some interpretation of this quote. From the previous comments, it’s clear she struggled, unsuccessfully, with clinical depression.

    • emd04

      She wasn’t just depressed–she had several nervous breakdowns throughout her life. In her suicide note to her husband she wrote that she was “spoiling his work” and that he’d do much better without her. Her love for him was quite intense and was probably one of the things that saved her life, for as long as it did. I would recommend learning about her, and reading her work–she was really quite brilliant.

      • KJ

        Thanks…that is a good reminder for me to appreciate my family and friends- and myself- all the more!

  • thank you gretchen for sharing something from such a brilliant and complicated woman. it reminds me to work towards being my best and to recognize the gifts that i have even when that seems difficult.

  • thank you gretchen for sharing this. she was such a brilliant and complicated woman. it reminds me to work on being the best me i can be and to recognize the gifts i do have even when that seems too difficult.

  • Penny Schmitt

    I would not like my whole life to be judged or valued by its darkest moments. Virginia Woolf’s suicide was, alas, that irrevocable action we might take as her own judgment on her life. I often have to remind myself when I look inside and find failure–as I do–that others look at who I am and what I’ve done and see something quite different. Sometimes we have to hang on to the person and the life we are to others, to keep ourselves afloat. We have to set aside what we know about ourselves, and be willing to say that what we know is only part of the whole truth. As for the quotation you’ve chosen, Gretchen, it is so powerfully true that in my most valued relationships, it is often the trivialities, the details of the weather, and whether one slept comfortably in the night, and what the small tasks are or have been through the day, that prove to be great joys, simply because I’ve shared them with the one other who matters most to me.