At the centre of your being you have the answer, you know who you are and you know what you want ~ Lao Tzu

Wednesday, August 4

Sagely advice

I do terribly want you to be
yourself - to have the freedom to grow
and be whatever you have it in you
to be. The one terrible thing seems to be not so much unhappiness - which is
inevitable - as being thwarted, stunted, to miss opportunities and not live
fully and completely as far as one can...
so wrote Vanessa Bell to her son Julian when he was in Rome, considering marriage to an unknown woman...
Whatever the actual details of the situation, I love Vanessa's wise words. The fact she's wiser than to just wish happiness for her son - unhappiness is indeed inevitable - Vanessa's mother died in her 40s, her step-sister Stella died in her 20s, and her beloved brother, Thoby, died aged 26 - not to mention her sister Virginia's (Woolf) ongoing mental problems...
What Vanessa's wishes instead is essentially her personal credo - to live freely in a way that's true to one's own truth. She worked hard to create a home, first in Bloomsbury, then at Charleston.
Admittedly, her marriage to Clive Bell was highly unconventional (I love Katie Roiphe's description:
'The emotional arrangements at Charleston were so complicated, at times, that one needed a chart like the one at the beginning of a Russian novel to keep them all straight' (Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Marriages in Literary London 1910-1939, Virago Press, 2009, p. 145)), but she lived a full, vital life that was totally of her own making.
And so I'm endeavouring to work out my own credo, and then, I'll endeavour to live true to it... and I'll attempt to share my findings on this blog...

1 comment:

Kate Robertson said...


I am so excited that you are blogging again.