i believe it was nathaniel hawthorne who said, "we should read only the books that wound and stab us." well, kids, i have found another of those books. it's kind of my job to read, and i do like much of what i'm given to read, but it is rare to find one of these painful, heartwrenchingly honest books in a syllabus.
so...since this passage stabbed me when i read it in the oaks room today (and when read it aloud to amy in the oaks room after i composed myself, and finally one last time when i reread it now that i have returned home), i have decided to post it here in order to determine if it is truly potent, or if my situation allows it more credit than necessary.
enjoy. the passage is taken from the waves by virginia woolf. and bear with it, i obviously think it's worth it.
"Why, look," said Neville, "at the clock ticking on the mantelpiece. Time passes, yes. And we grow old. But to sit with you, alone with you, here in London, in this firelit room, you there, I here, is all. The world ransacked to its uttermost ends, and all its heights stripped and gathered of their flowers holds no more. Look at the firelight running up and down the gold thread in the curtain. The fruit it circles droops heavy. It falls on the toe of your boot, it gives your face a red rim-I think it is the firelight and not your face; I think those are books against the wall, and that a curtain, and that perhaps an arm-chair. But when you come everything changes. The cups and saucers changed when you came in this morning. There can be no doubt, I thought, pushing aside the newspaper, that our mean lives, unslightly as they are, put on splendour and have meaning only under the eyes of love.
"You are you. That is what consoles me for the lack of many things-I am ugly, I am weak-and the depravity of the world, and the flight of youth and Percival's death, and bitterness and rancour and envies innumerable.
"But if one day you do not come after breakfast, if one day I see you in some looking-glass perhaps looking after another, if the telephone buzzes and buzzes in your empty room, I shall then, after unspeakable anguish, I shall then-for there is no end to the folly of the human heart-seek another, find another, you. Meanwhile, let us abolish the ticking of time's clock with one blow. Come closer."