On Reading “A Room of One’s Own”


The prompt this week for that weekly art journal page challenge I’m doing was “somewhere,” and as I was reading it the first thing that popped into my read was “A Room of One’s Own.” My page turned out to be one of those “better in my head” moments, but it did cause me to go and actually read the Virginia Woolf essay (or whatever you want to call it, as it was adapted from a lecture series), which I had never done before.

(And I’m technically not finished yet. But I wanted to share anyway.)

room of one's own
What a room of one’s own looks like to me. I cannot draw.

It’s amazing to me how relevant this still feels, nearly 100 years later. That drive to create and the need for peace and the ability to focus on creating is still there, and having money independent of work still allows that kind of focus.

She also has an answer for why women of the generations before her didn’t “lean in”: “making a fortune and bearing thirteen children — no human being could stand it.” Which is probably why the uber-successful moms of today have a lot fewer children.

Woolf’s observations and advice have a lot more to say to the wealthier women of the world, those who don’t have to work for a living or who can afford to make what little they do from their words (hey, that’s me!), a criticism that’s been lobbed at this essay for decades.

But I’m still enjoying it, and there is great advice in here for writers regardless of their circumstances. Such as

Fiction must stick to facts, and the truer the facts the better the fiction.

and

it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.

Have you ever read “A Room of One’s Own?” I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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