Remembering Virginia Woolf on her 137th Birthday…

We all know Virginia Woolf as a feminist and a prominent modernist writer that filled rocks in her coat pockets and walked into the river Ouse because she could no longer battle depression and was worried that her illness was ruining lives of everyone that cared about her.

“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”

But before depression had a hold of her, Virginia Woolf lived the most eccentric life and had a crazy sense of humour. She was the type of woman you were unlikely to forget even if you just saw her in passing. Her neighbours recall how she use to wear big floppy straw hats, and looked so much like a witch, they’d secretly fear being put under spells. There was always something strange about her, she never spoke to them, but was often seen singing to herself.  In fact, one summer, she was believed to have gone mad because she claimed that the birds were chirping in Greek and King Edward VII was saying curses from behind a nearby bush.

Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf 

Besides being a perfect candidate of Maggie Stiefvater’s books, Virginia Woolf has also been a victim of the popular theory that suggested that mental instability was caused by the bacteria in the roots of the teeth. Imagine going through depression but instead of giving you good therapy your psychiatrist suggests you pull out three teeth. So in the end all you have is a set of false teeth and more reasons to be depressed about. Sadly back then suing for malpractice wasn’t very popular however Virginia did get her revenge, in the only way writers know how: by turning him into the fumbling, incompetent doctor in her book Mrs. Dalloway.

Honestly if Virginia Woolf lived today she’d have some interesting stories to share on Tumblr, which for a change would actually be true. One of them would definitely be how she decided to learn some domestic skills and enrolled in a cooking school, but ended up baking a pudding with her wedding ring instead!

Or how one time she and her friends, painted their faces black, dressed in robes and presented themselves as the Prince of Ethiopia and his entourage, successfully fooling the Royal Navy into giving them a special tour of the flagship HMS Dreadnought, took a photograph and were very proud of themselves for pulling this off. However, word about their prank did get out and they ended up being in the cover of the The Daily Mirror with a humiliated Navy calling in their arrest, which didn’t quite work out. Now that is some pranking goals!

(L-R) Virginia Woolf, Duncan Grant, Adrian Stephen, Anthony Buxton, Guy Ridley, Horace Cole

Virginia Woolf has always been a little extra with everything that she’s done in her life and I absolutely love that about her. At one point in her life, she literally wrote on a standing desk simply because she wanted to act like a painter who could step away from her canvas to get a better view. She has also known to be very difficult shopper who constantly argued with the salesman about the products that were on sale and what products she imagined that could have been on sale instead. This woman was something else entirely! One time her childhood music teacher asked her what the meaning of Christmas was, she responded by saying ‘to celebrate the Crucifixion’ before bursting into laughter. True story!

I have always loved Virginia Woolf’s words, quoting her lines everywhere even though I am guilty of never reading her books, but after doing a detailed research about her for this blogpost, I want to pick up her books right away, because now I am a fan of the person she was; unapologetic, crazy and absolutely hilarious. Maybe I’ll start with her essay A Room of One’s Own.

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