The Letters She Left Behind
And so I come to the woman in the water, the sinner (but in the end we are not all sinners).
Virginia Woolf in the flesh, the death of the drowning visitor. Her brain cells transformed into the cemented atonement of dead moths. Deaths that can be explained. Physical bodies that can not be removed have only healed souls that have been ripped out of the material. Virginia did not miss a thing. The glory of love (she had this white wedding, the gift of love, she knew it, she knew it, defended it graciously, she was not a failure, I’m that loser). Nothing escaped her passionate seeing eyes, her freedom, her meditations on nature, her platelets, mitochondria, and her bilateral symmetry. Only the grit, the brick walls, the mysterious interiors of the villas of their work remained. Left behind. Granite. Leave diaries for trainees. Her intuition, her breath and her vitality have left this damned corpse for an eternity of hell. What does she have to do with the education skills of my distant manic-depressive father and my elegant and cold mother, my cool mental illness, which needed a private room to coexist with my brother’s cigarette smoke, his paternity, and his triumph wherever I was? had failed and then I traveled inside?
The river Ouse fascinated me. Woolfs love letters to Vita. The love story of Woolf and West. I am a woman who writes. Virginia Woolf was a woman who was a woman, a lover and a woman who wrote. My usual madness became a beauty for me. I am an empty vessel that has found bright stars among women, their husbands and children, in flowers in a vase and at night in the fabric of the universe. I am Orlando. I am Lady Lazarus. I experienced Hiroshima, Jean Rhys, the Demimonde and artist model, and the feminist Sylvia Plath as representative of authentic words that signal the warning, communicate wisdom threads and protest poetry. I had to understand the London scene, Ted Hughes, Assia Wevill and the kid from this union, Shura. I am afraid of modernity because it is not modernity that conquers the world. It writes. The interpretations of inner life, intimacy, marriage, creativity and madness. Vita Sackville West and Virginia Woolf are sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-n-g. Do not look at me. Look at me’. Our intimacy is special. Your skin is a substance in which I could drown. I can do without religion, but I can not do without you. You have given me the highest form of art, and that is inspiration. How can I ever pay you back?
Come to me, you elegant being with all the hopes you have for yourself. Your goals have become mine. Your dreams are my own. Nice, elegant Vita. My Orlando. When I read your work, I am filled with a clear vision, a sly perfection, and I feel as if I were your only possession to have, to have, to have. May I borrow some of your inhibitory nature, your expectant nostalgia, your poetic descriptions, your sky and the sky in your eyes, your flowers, the flowers that you meditate on in your garden, your compass that will guide you across the passages of London leads? and Europe? And I would like to share something with you if you let me. I took great care of you. Understand that. Understand that I do not want to own you, claim yourself for me, as I’m sure others have wanted it in the past, and I do not want to own you and enter your world as a lover and go as an intruder. When we are together, you read my words (because there are parts of me that want to be completely honest with you, how confident I am with the charming and seductive you feel). When we sit together, there is still a veil of privacy, an idea of privacy on my part.
I’m sure that’s also true for you. When I’m with you, I forget everything around me. When we are separated, I can only think of Vita. What does Vita do? Planting, gardening, writing, writing letters (write me one), planning your day, making vita lists, running errands, opening a letter (from me, from me). Smile Vita, laughs Vita and who makes my Vita to smile, my Vita to laugh? If it’s not me, it’s my duty to make you smile. I feel a slight hysteria, overwhelmed with emotion, feeling like an empty biblical vessel. I feel useless because how can I benefit someone if I, the authentic self, are not sincere and totally committed to my life. It’s only about you. There is nobody else about you. I dedicate myself to you completely. You have the key to my heart. Once opened, you will find a Pandora’s box, but I must have secrets. Do not all female writers enjoy this latitude? I have to keep something for myself. Something I can go to when I start to fear that you have strayed from me, that our love will abate, you wither Vita and become indifferent, be erased and never return to our story?
What would I do if you were no longer in my world? You, my rarest paradise, my heaven. Cigarette for cigarette smoking, feet stuck in slippers, hair wild, loose, unkempt in the hands, in the hands and then I feel most magical. The real and the imagined become a twisted entity that pulls a revolution, and although it fades in the morning, it is still remembered and all I can think of is when we can meet again here. I watch you put on your robe while you brush the hair out of your fashionably cut hair, sweetheart, and you turn around and watch me watching you and you smile. My hand caresses the heat that the body has left on the sheets. I breathe in your expensive perfume. And I come to the slow realization that society will be the death of us. They will never accept us. You let me forget. I like it. You let me forget Vanessa’s offspring. I like it. You let me forget my secrets. I like it. You make me forget my childhood. I like it. You make me forget that I was abused by my two half-brothers as a child Vita. That’s what I like best. You are so right for me, woman.
Vita, you are my gravity, my aorta, and I love how you see me complicated, my self-punishment, my self-imposed exile, and childlike innocence. I love you and Leonard alike, and if I lost you both and did not meet your two expectations, that would be the death of me. You are an event. If the silence in my room becomes uneasy, too much for me, and I become aware of it, the rituals of a writer, aware that I am self-pitying, consciously, I have to keep writing. You have become my obsession and I can not imagine another society I want to be in. As crazy as it sounds, when I’m with you, I can feel electricity buzzing in my bones. Our connection is infinite. I find your poetry, your humility, your abandonment, your stifling current breathtaking, Vita. You are the second love of my life. You are all dimensions of my world. I think you’re smart, so artistic, your work is electrifying, so resourceful, and you tamed me when you drowned Vita. I have always been curious about married life. I thought I was surrounded by the walls of a prison and then I got married, became a wife but had no children and discovered how far from the truth that was.
Marriage frees you in so many wonderful and enlightening ways. I wanted Leonard. I wanted love, but not necessarily a husband, because I did not think that love goes with a husband. Love comes with a like-minded companion. You, Vita, are this like-minded companion. You come with a degree of love, with passion, intelligence, you make machines. Observe the changes in my personality exactly whenever I am with you, study and evaluate my dying in your arms. Learn my half-truths and white lies while I do your Vita. I just have to hear your voice and I’m fine. In this dry season I reach a new intelligence, a new spectacle, a new materialism and a new language. It should be as obvious to you now as it is to me that I am completely obsessed and beaten by you. I love you. Let us build a house together. Go away together, if that’s impossible. And when I’m without you, I’m a winter guest in a cold storm. I want to tell you that your skin has something luxurious and soothing. My Vita. I am at your mercy. Your perfume fills my head. And as I begin to experience you vicariously, self-confidently, or consciously, my sadness has a complex wavelength.
Brutal successes that afflict my humanity. I have been yearning for them all my life. The gratitude that I have for being part of my life has become instructive. They did not think of the extraordinary consequences of the gift of their relationship. They did not think. Period. They lived out of love like other women because they were considered sex objects, parties, men, the London scene, and flowers. Instead, they are transformed. The lovers whisper to themselves. They do not want to part. The grass was a dream. And they were both brides who hurried to the end of puberty, the English summer weather whose immediacy it was to silence the two women in the complexity of distance. Here in the country, shielded from a myriad of simple tasks, no woman could break from her “marriage.” These elegant English heroines, English novelists whose writings were hypnotic, were unaware of reality and the outside world, and made people insignificant and invisible. Men became others and humanity, the females of the species existed in a time and space known as the unknown future.
After the dust, the cunning sexual revelation, the impulsiveness of the lesbian love relationship between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, no sentence could shame them both, their writing process, their divine abilities. Woolf gave Sackville West authority over her physical body, and in return Sackville West did the same. Gaps, flashbacks, embarrassing regret should go along with the territory of an affair that is ending. The silence is structured with what is not said, the acute longing and the despair of loneliness, a seductive theory that marks the beginning of this lifelong romance, the committee of mutual admiration between these two gifted English women. I know what it means to suffer. To live with the face of the ongoing love that shines on my frozen face, I love to re-align my psychological frame and my sexual pace. Your power suffocates me, one thing. And a woman alone. First, it is a look that captures reality, a sensual expectation, and so the feast of the landscape becomes the symbol of what will come after that unpleasant love. Photographs survive. Historical events, knowledge, actors, but no manic depressives, the mentally ill, people who have no order in their lives.
The living do not survive. In our world, morality consists of shrinking ice. Our love is apocalyptic bliss. The detailed foundations of the sublime. Hurting someone is an inconvenience. In turn, in order to be hurt, negative patterns in your mind are embroidered for an unseen life. As a result, secrets are cheapened, the golden, sensual image of the physical body is woven and slaughtered. There is nothing that could replace the latter. Virginia Woolf. Was she still the molested child? Injured, confused, but her mind still cool and pure, free from disease, elements of fantasy, climate change, global warning, world poverty and trafficking. She delayed the information. The bridges to the onslaught of mental illness. She just wanted freedom. And she found that at Vita Sackville-West.
And as an adult she did not want children, a whole screaming tribe of them, a child so she could cure all the wrongs of the past. Virginia had a plan when she wrote in her diary, “I know, I’ll never love that again.” She is gone. Never return to my arms again. So fleeting was the flame. It burned so brightly. I’ll never fall in love again.
Imagine a humanity in which there was no morality (but not signs), gravity, confusion, disillusionment, criminal behavior, sexual violence or bad behavior. Not so easy, right? Instead, I imagine the source of desire that is in the inner child of the woman I love. The name of the woman I love is Vita Sackville-West. It never contradicts itself. ‘Moral ambiguity’ are not words that appear in their vocabulary. Neither is ‘agonizing’. Because she is a woman who has everything at hand. Am I going to say goodbye? It came to that. The end of the affair. The farewell of perfect-minded people in England. A match made in a paradise. I would give away my precious books, hide my diaries forever from prying eyes, just to be in their company. Just to talk to her. To brush your hair, wet from the steam of your bathwater. I’ll help her get dressed. Are not clothes just costumes anyway? I will help her with everything and everyone. Is not makeup just the facade of a mask? Take rings for her fingers, beads for her neck and brooches to decorate her breast like medals. Her hands are small in mine or my hands are small in her. I dont know.
In Vitas presence I am sometimes so carried away. This is the last time we meet like that. A Tryst. A romantic getaway on our “private island”, where no one can find us. They can guess everything they want and say, ‘That will not work at all. Ever. ‘ And of course there will be someone who says, ‘Leonard, can not you control your wife? Their relationship gets out of control. ‘Poor Leonard will not say anything. Just sulk. Poor mute. Remain contemplative for the rest of the evening in the company of men. Sulking, thoughtful, when you talk to him and of course drinks, smokes and plays cards. Leonard Woolf is a forgiving man. The man I married is a forgiving man. He may think my behavior inappropriate, but he will forgive me. We swore in a church. Till death do us part. This man has a forgiving mind, a forgiving nature. I know what he will think. And whatever he thinks will give him comfort and hope. He knows that his brilliant wife will return home to her self-punishment, self-imposed exile in her room. Her room chose especially other rooms in the house for writing and writing and writing. And she’ll keep writing, no matter how hard it is for her.
Leonard’s Virginia (and I strangely write here detached from my own existence, coolly detached from humanity about myself). I will console myself in cold weather and walk in the nutritious air of the English countryside and walk and breathe. Perhaps on certain days, only on certain days, she will set aside the work of her day, begin writing and send another letter, but the detached, seemingly indifferent Leonard Woolf will be all the wiser. Instead, he will be friendlier to his wife, more tolerant of her inappropriate manners, and promises that he will not be so irritated or annoyed. He has to do everything he can, because it is in his power to do so. It is in his power to make her forget cocktails, depression, the hours she has spent in the company of London’s celebrities, the circle of friends she has left behind, and this woman, Vita Sackville-West. Leonard’s Virginia is at home.
Sleep is her enemy again. My Leonard kisses me on the cheek at night, stroking my hair out of my face where they have come off, and he asks me tenderly and softly, his voice calm, my life belt in this world anchoring me, the lotus was yours Day Virginia? ‘
And in return, Leonard’s Virginia will reply, “Same age, same time, I finally think I have a new book, everything is there.” The essence of the book “I want to talk, go on and on, but I know he can say that my behavior is as it always is when I start a new book Leonard’s Virginia decides to say nothing more, I can see how tired my husband is, he has worked hard the whole day, for my own sake books I still need to explain that, I need Vita, I want it, I wish it, it was my diamond ring, my pearl necklace, my ruby brooch, my pet, my best friend, my only female companion to talk about in the sunshine and like every teacher I admired, I enjoyed, thought and admired their courage, their intelligence and their friendship and I will miss them very much I feel the measure of loss already The pain of the mind is again descended on me. With Vita at my side I could still get these votes. Leonard just does not understand why I need her. Do all men have only the sexual transaction in the brain? I have never seen a woman who has done for me, what she did, or who had the psyche of a man. And I will never do it.
And now I know there will be other women in my life after me. Disciple, cultivated, educated, beguiling, and she will love her the way she loved me. As if only a woman can love another woman. Or in the beginning she will love her future lover like daughters before staging a relationship with them. But I have to say goodbye for the last time. I only wish I could do it face to face. And then I remember. Come to me, my pretty, my pretty thing, my Vita. My thoroughbred. My exotic princess. My Cinderella. I want to tell you everything. Your pretty eyes are staring into mine. Progress. They seem to tell me that I should develop myself. If I’m wrong, stop now. I will get dressed quickly. If you want me to leave this house, I will go fast. You do not have to give me an explanation. We have come this far. You have my word. I will destroy our correspondence. I’ll just feel stupid that I may have felt our beautiful friendship, which means more to me than words I can only imagine, that they could count for something. Something? Something? They taught me what it means to be a good woman. What does it mean to be a lover? The nature of the animal that is human.
The best of them, the loudest, the Machiavellists, perhaps the most brilliant, and the bravest want to share nothing with women. Women like us. Smart women. Perhaps they think that we are going to seize their power by whatever means we need to exploit our feminine phenomena and behaviors, and by using what nature has given us we want us to give them, the men turn the tables. And when we turn the tables, they lose all self-control, and instead of dominating us, we will dominate them for a change. I know, I know, I know my favorite Vita, I talk too much, but then the time we spend together, our time alone, our private life, away from the rest of London, I mean, it seems boring, I think ‘I feel like people are talking about us, about this relationship. I’m afraid Leonard got a lot of heat. And yet I have tried so hard to be a good wife to him. Maybe I did not have the best examples when I grew up, but my sister seems to have done well for herself. They championed my work. It’s just to write that I champion yours. You have your house. I have my house You have not betrayed anyone. It would be cowardly to think that way.
To take such an attitude. You are so much more valuable. This is the last letter I write to you. I have to have some dignity, right? (So far, you have refused to see me again, and I understand that we’re over, that we’re done, but I’ll always cherish our friendship.) Our friendship meant so much to me. Give me a second chance. I can make things right between us. I can only put your physical beauty into words. Will I create the guest list for a party in your house when it is known that Leonard Woolf’s wife has fallen in love with another ingenious writer? These “conversations” with which I have filled diaries, there is a book and it fills me with hope, courage, as if you are again next to me and listen carefully to everything that I say. I’m excited again (again and again like Mrs. Dalloway). Humanity is a good woman, a married life, a grumpy husband in the morning mumbling a good morning behind his newspaper and his offspring. I do not want to lose my married life because I am a good woman. I do not want to lose Leonard. I do not think you want to lose your “other life”. But Vita, you can see for sure that I do not want to lose you either.
Let’s start the end of this intimate affair and see where it leads us, my Orlando. There is so much at stake here. Love, love, love and passion, but above all education, life experience, gratitude, wisdom. Where do I finish everything? Tell me (write it down), what do you see, your eyes, in the moonlight? We are all alone. The privacy between us two no longer matters. It’s not an idea anymore. I sincerely want you all. Is that too much? Perfumed salt and perfumed light. Cool and wet. Your taste is bittersweet, enlightened happiness fills my head. This is the happiest I’ve ever been in a long time. Maybe this is the best love experience I’ve ever had in my life. It’s different with a woman. Leonard is a high-gender. All men are in varying degrees. They do not really understand the woman’s orgasm. You see, I’m happiest with you, sweetheart.), And you’re sensitive to the intimate touch of my hand with the material (what is this fabric) that you wear, and the feeling is warmth. Breath is heat. There is no self-punishment for me, self-imposed banishment more only the modus operandi of the lover with her Orlando. What sensuality is that?
What fun? What seduction? What is this intuitive connection between us? It has become possible for me to imagine that only we both build a house together, and give myself a chance, before you laugh at my crazy idea. I think of a house near the sea. A garden for you and a special room for us in which we can both write to our heart’s content. Oh, I know how far-fetched this beautiful dream is, darling, but as long as we can get away, having those few hours together, we can think of thoughts that can condemn us to hell. What is this communication between us? When you are not with me, I am having conversations between the two of us. I have to be in love. And you are always right. Sometimes motherly, always loving, ready to give advice, always so worried when your Adeline Virginia is sad, always ready to cheer me up. I always like you very much. Will I always think? An affair is an affair is an affair. This is one for the history books, for the scholars of trifles, for the “apprentices”, “our apprentices” who will still read our work. They will call it historical research.
And long after we both are six feet under pushed up daisies, they will write about us. Our history. Our wonderful, great love story. Talented, tall, great, Lesbos. Two intellectuals, both novelists, write about women for women, but instead of granting us that honor, they will first award us the prize of Lesbos. Vita, you once asked me, “What about the past that haunts you?” In this picture I am the birthday child with the wildflowers in my hands. It’s either a gift or a reward, and if it’s a reward, I must have been a very, very good girl. But as I got older, I was rewarded less and less. It started to suit my personality. To be the bird with a broken wing, the frosting of her cake on her hands in one place in time, a moment of reflection, fleeting sadness, on the verge of tears, a nervous breakdown? Nobody wanted me. No one wanted to talk to me, take responsibility for me, lift me off the ground, dry my tears, comfort me while I sob, and drive me everywhere. The apparitions would come at night, the voices during the day. They were daring, cunning and full of imagination. Not like you, my Vita.
Not as pretty and adorable as you are, my senorita. They would come and go as they pleased, but they were like a safety blanket, and that was the only pleasure they gave me. This outward mixture of shame and regret gave me a tender hope (I was ready, well, I’ll admit that I was ready to take my own life, yes, I was thinking of doing that) and I did next time best thing. I put everything into my writing concerning the mind, my soul, my intellect, my ego, my identity and my psychological frame. I should have told them. All the people who hurt me as a kid. Desolation meant perfection to me. Meant a perfect life. Well, now I had a purpose. And who wants to live without meaning and purpose, without a committed companion or partner, with whom one can share everything (just like your Virginia shares my Vita with you). And then you said, “Why do you remember that? Why do you remember things that made you sad, that made you suffer and that made you even more depressed? Wasting nights and days when you could have written. It hurt you. Accept that it only moved you to tears and not much else. They did not turn out to be suicidal suicide. You have to look forward to the future. ‘
‘Yes Yes Yes. Leonard is wonderful. I think I’m lucky enough to have him, but I do not think I deserve it the way my sister devotes herself entirely to her family, spouse and children. ‘
But it was just a dream. A conversation in a diary. Woolf’s voice ends up in the night.
And then the river Ouse, the seducer, was like a lake on Woolf. And there it was. She wanted to die. She wanted to disappear. Find a wilderness she created herself. She wanted to plead with the gods, the handsome tigers of Jean Rhys. Non-domesticated animals such as racing pigeons, cats or dogs. Woolf wanted to find the unwritten freedom that had been her church, like a religion for her that left her with an angelic perspective. The dead end, the shortcut to a hellish parade. The hook tightened. The muscle of injustice multiplied in her heart. She lived (it was just a pale gesture), but in death she lives (as I hope to live) greatly.