03 November

3 November 1920

Villa Isola Bella Menton, France

Darling Own,
Here it is under my hand - finished - another story about as long as The Man Without a Temperament - praps longer. Its called The Stranger. Its a "New Zealand" story. My depression has gone, Boge, so it was just this. And now its here - thank God - & the fire burns and its warm and tho the wind is howling - it can howl. What a QUEER business writing is. I don't know. I dont believe other people are ever as foolishly excited as I am while Im working. How could they be? Writers would have to live in trees. Ive been this man been this woman. Ive stood for hours on the Auckland Wharf. Ive been out in the stream waiting to be berthed. Ive been a seagull hovering at the stern and a hotel porter whistling through his teeth. It isn't as though one sits and watches the spectacle. That would be thrilling enough, God knows. But one Is the spectacle for the time. If one remained oneself all the time like some writers can it would be a bit less exhausting. Its a lightning change affair, tho. But what does it matter. Ill keep this story for you to read at Xmas. I only want to give it to you now. Accept my new story - my own Love. Give it your blessing. It is the best I can do and therefore it is yours. If it pleases you nobody else counts - not one.
Your own

Darling Bogey
Will you have this typed for me? AT MY EXPENSE. Two copies. And what do you advise me to do with it. I mean - ought I to try & sell it?
If you can just give me your opinion - - - Im not registering it so Im asking you just to wire me if it comes for I HAVEN'T ANOTHER COPY.
I am for ever your own
You know my state of mind: (a) He'll not like it. (13) it will be lost.

[Letters to J. M. Murry in Collected Letters]

My dear Sydney
I cannot tell you how distressed I am to hear of Violet's illness. My heart goes out to you both. I wish I could know how she was this very minute. Give her my tender love; tell her that my wishes join the wishes of all who know and love her that she'll be better soon - and soon her beautiful radiant self again.
[. . .] Your mentioning the verbena made me think of the lavender bushes last year - and the morning we sat in the garden for a little while. I always see across our conversation those lovely spikes of deep purplish blue, and the bees were busy in them. That and the sound of water and the flight of three swal¬lows - all are 'important' to the moment.
Yes, there are weak spots in A Gift from the Dusk  but compared to the unworthy, stupifying, untruthful rubbish of today it did not do, I felt, to comment on them. The worst of it is, nowadays, that the majority of novels is so bad one becomes almost fearful of the strength of one's feeling for a ‘good' one. There were touches in that book that moved me tremendously. I felt that in the intimacy between Stephen and Mary, Prowse was, many times, speaking a language which I long in vain to hear spoken. The intimacy of two beings who are essential to each other - who is going to write that? And yet Love that is less than that - one wearies of hearing of it.
Im sure Ive read 20 novels this autumn by LADY writers that might all be called How I lost my Virginity! If that wasn't bad enough - they never tell the truth - they always tell How I WISHED to lose my Virginity, and in fact I don't believe they ever did lose it. [To Sydney Schiff in Collected Letters]