1 year ago


Selected Writings & Artwork by Harriett Copeland Lillard

Me and Virginia Woolf

Me and Virginia Woolf 81

Me and Virginia Woolf I left home today to live in a “room of my own” for part of each week. It was not a decision I had reached easily or without thought. But doing this, living alone, had become a need as basic to me as my need for air. Once decided, I did it quickly, like pulling a tooth. As I packed the car, I was haunted by the feeling that something definitive and unalterable was happening. From the house that had represented my life for almost twenty years, I am setting off on a new course, uncharted and unchartable. I don’t know what will happen in the next few years, but I know that after today I will never come back home in quite the same way again. I will never know that house again on such intimate terms. It has been as much a part of me as my own skin. I have known all its squeaks AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA and cracks and blemishes. I have known its sighs in the night as intimately as those of a lover. I passed through its rooms, touching the books and paintings, all the things that I have cherished, and I said goodbye. I looked at photographs and unfinished projects and I saw the history of that part of my life parade before me. I tried to remember what it was like so many years ago when I first walked through those rooms. I had only two small children then, but two more would come later to shelter under its ample roof. I tried to remember my dreams. Life was young then, and endings were something that other people had. Life seemed to be cast in concrete, so certain was I of all the eternal verities. I thought that nothing would ever really change – perhaps get better, but never change. It was a sweet and uncomplicated time, full of the laughter and tears of small children, of litters of kittens and puppies, of multitudes of tiny shoes and broken toys. But I remembered too, how hard it had been, the endless days and nights of tedious responsibilities and utter fatigue. I remembered how later, as the years wore on in deadly monotony, I had longed to participate in life directly rather than through those around me, and how I had felt myself dying inside and how I had cried alone in the night, strangling on my despair and guilt. In the last few years that house had come to represent to me all the unfinished aspects of my life, my incompleteness. My failures and inadequacies grew daily with compound interest. And I grew to despise the house. It had become a casket of dead dreams. The little children are gone now, replaced by big people I hardly know with dreams of their own. I am glad for them, but most of all, I am glad for myself and my own reborn dreams. It is a time for letting go, not indifferently, but with love. It is a time to recognize the necessity and inevitability of change – a time for renaissance, beginning-again, and growing into a new awareness. It is a hard and painful time too, more demanding in many respects than all the years that have gone before. Nevertheless, it is a time to move forward Opposite, Lillard family home in Jacksboro 82