‘I am embarrassed by my own fertility’

Yesterday was Virginia Woolf’s 125th birthday:


I feel at once, as I sit down at the table, the delicious jostle of confusion, of uncertainty, of possibility, of speculation. Images breed instantly. I am embarrassed by my own fertility. I could describe every chair, table, luncher here copiously, freely. My mind hums hither and thither with its veil of words for everything. To speak, about wine even to the waiter, is to bring about an explosion. Up goes the rocket. Its golden grain falls, fertilising, upon the rich soil of my imagination. The entirely unexpected nature of this explosion–that is the joy of intercourse. I, mixed with an unknown Italian waiter–what am I? There is no stability in the world. Who is to say what meaning there is to anything? Who is to foretell the flight of a word? It is a balloon that sails over tree-tops. To speak of knowledge is futile. All is experiment and adventure. We are for ever mixing ourselves with unknown quantities. What is to come? I know not.–The Waves


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