18 October

18 October 1920

Villa Isola Bella Menton, France

I return DelaMare's letter. I long to hear of your time with him. Its very queer; he haunts me here - not a persistent or substantial ghost but as one who shares my (our) joy in the silent world. Joy is not the word: I only used it because it conveys a stillness - a remoteness - because there is a faraway sound in it.
You know, darling, I have felt very often lately as though the silence had some meaning beyond these signs these intimations. Isn't it possible that if one yielded there is a whole world into which one is received? It is so near and yet I am conscious that I hold back from giving myself up to it. What is this something mysterious that waits - that beckons?
And then suffering - bodily suffering such as Ive known for three years. It has changed forever everything - even the appearance of the world is not the same - there is something added. Eveything has its shadow. Is it right to resist such suffering? Do you know I feel it has been an immense privilege. Yes, in spite of all. How blind we little creatures are! Darling, its only the fairy tales we really live by. If we set out upon a jour¬ney the more wonderful the treasure the greater the temptations and perils to he overcome. And if someone rebels and says Life isn't good enough on those terms one can only say: ‘It is'. Dont misunderstand me. I don't mean a "thorn in the flesh, my dear" - its a million times more mysterious. It has taken me three years to understand this - to come to see this. We resist - we are terribly frightened. The little boat enters the dark fearful gulf and our only cry is to escape - "put me on land again". But its useless. Nobody listens. The shadowy figure rows on. One ought to sit still and uncover ones eyes. [Letter to J. M. Murry in Collected Letters 1920]

Of course I can't write that: I'm surprised to have made such a crude note. That's the raw idea as they say. What I ought to do, though is to write it, somehow, immediately, even if it's not good enough to print. My chief fault, my overwhelming fault is in not writing it out. Well, now that I know it (and the disease is of very long standing) why don't I begin at least to follow a definite treatment? It is my experience that once an ‘evil' is recognised any delay in attempting to eradicate it is fatally weakening. And I who love order, with my mania for the ‘clean weep', for every single thing being ‘ship-shape'...I to know there's such an ugly spot in my mind! Weeds flourish in neglect. I must keep my garden open to the light and in order. I must at all costs plant these bulbs and not leave them (oh shameful!) to rot on the garden paths! Today (October 18th.20) is Monday. I have raised my right hand & sworn. Am I ever happy except when overcoming difficulties? Never. Am I ever free from the sense of guilt, even? Never. After I had finished that slight sketch The Young Girl wasn't there a moment which surpasses all other moments? Oh, yes. Then - why do you hesitate? How can you! I take my oath - not one day shall pass without I write something - original.