"I want to think quietly, calmly, spaciously, never to be interrupted, never to have to rise from my chair, to slip easily from one thing to another, without any sense of hostility, or obstacle." - Virginia Woolf, "The Mark on the Wall"I post this one everywhere. (If you look over yonder to my sidebar on my blog, it's probably there.) It's my favorite quote because I identify with it intensely - it's almost like my personal mission statement.
The short way to summarize it would probably be, "I want things to be easy," but that makes it sound like laziness, which it isn't. It's not "I want things to be easy so I don't have to exert any effort" - it's more like, "I want things to be easy so I can go with the flow and relax and not be so tense all the time" It's a need for zen, for peace of mind. It's a need for mental and physical space.
In "The Mark on the Wall," the narrator is sitting in her chair, and she notices a mark on the wall across the room from her, and she doesn't know what it is. Instead of just getting up to look at it, she lets her imagination wander, coming up with all sorts of theories and associations, delving into the previous owners of the house and history and just all sorts of thoughts, until her husband comes in and tells her what it is. (It's a snail. That's the punchline.)
Anyway, who has time to let their mind wander in such a way these days? I certainly don't. I'm so constantly focused on what I'm doing next, where I have to go, when I have to be there, that it drives me crazy sometimes. I don't have many moments to just sit and think. Even when I'm driving that long distance to roller derby practice, my stream of consciousness is stressed out - oh my god what time is it? I hope I'm not late. What do I have to do tonight after practice? Do I have to be anywhere tomorrow? Holy crap, traffic is slowing down even more - gotta change lanes, gotta change lanes. And so on, and so forth. My mind buzzes like crazy, and I rarely have time to do what the narrator is saying in the quote - to think quietly, calmly, spaciously. I DO constantly have to rise from my chair (to do this and that around the house). I DO often get interrupted. I DO experience obstacles and even hostility (either on my part or the other person's).
So, consider that quote my pipe dream. I would love to have a moment just like the one described in the quote - it so perfectly describes what it is that I would like to achieve, what I strive to be: serene, peaceful, easy-going, thoughtful, and imaginative. Considering how I'm very restless, high-strung, and stressed out, I've sure got a long way to go.