Clarissa and Peter

I’ve spent the day in a used bookstore; touching and pondering books as I passed them on the shelves. I like to run my fingers along the books as I walk past them, and wonder where they have been, and who has read them before they came to the store. I know it sounds stupid, but it gives me joy.

I found a used copy of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and I immediately picked it off the shelf. Clarissa Dalloway is a “thorough-going skeptic”, according to Peter Walsh (her lover). That is what he says drew her to him, that and she was an enigma to him. I will say that it was the same for myself, because her outlook is very similar to my own. I enjoy her and Peter‘s back and forth, much more now than I did when I read this so many times before. Maybe because I see more of myself in Clarissa than I did before. It’s interesting how we change over time, and how our minds change as much as our bodies do.

Clarissa says something very real, that I love so very much, “We are a doomed race, chained to a sinking ship, as the whole thing is a bad joke, let us, at any rate, do our part; mitigate the suffering of our fellow-prisoners; decorate the dungeon with flowers and air-cushions; be as decent as we possibly can.”

I always read this with hope, every time. Even though we are all doomed for the same fate, which is death, as long as we are alive, we should work to make each other happy, however that manifests itself. The dungeon can be made bearable with flowers, love, and connection. I do hope for the three.