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I’ve not made my love of Virginia Woolf well-known so far; my friends out-with the blogosphere would describe it as an obsession as opposed to love, and I don’t like to come across as weird.

Portrait of Virginia Woolf (January 25, 1882 –...

However, when I saw the theme of the Weekly Writing Challenge, well, I couldn’t not.

So here we are.

I keep a diary almost every night – it has many benefits; and it also allows me to experiment in my own personal space.

Yet no doubt I shall be more interested, come ten years, in facts; and shall want, as I do when I read, to be told details, details, so that I may look up from the page and rearrange them into one of those makings-up which seem so much truer done thus, from heaps of non-assorted facts, than now I can make them, which is almost immediately being done before my eyes.

After reading this passage, I went home and wrote something new and different in my diary – it gave me a space with which I could experiment my writing style.

I adopted her style, but I made it my own. I focused on describing the small things, as she does, but maintained my own dry sense of humour. I didn’t insult people in an incredibly arrogant manner.

So I made a sort of resolution; to read one or two entries of Virginia Woolf’s diary before writing my own, when I have the time to do so.

Here are the results:

Thursday the 9th of August 2012: And so, to details. We cycled to Hossegor, today. I swam in the lake; disturbing, given the murkyness of the water obscuring my own feet, the occasional splash of a fish in my peripherals.

Friday 31st August 2012: It’s a rare blue moon today; I should have done something special. Instead I worked and read. The heat was unbearable; like walking in sand or swimming against the tide. Even now, hours after the sun left the sky, it’s stifling. With the window open and the covers thrown to the floor, I doubt I’ll sleep easily. I know in less than a month I will be wishing to be back in this heat when I return to the wind and rain of Scotland, but tonight I wish for my own room with survivable temperatures.

Thursday 4th September 2012: The town is bustling in a way most here are not. We had galettes for lunch and then went to the sea. The sea is another thing entirely. I go out – past the people, packed into the life-guarded area, past the breaking waves, further than anyone else, and then I turn around. Treading water is easy there and I can watch for hours. The wave swells around you, pushing you up and then down, and as it moves forward everyone disappears behind it. For a moment you’re the only person in a vast sea. A few screams can be heard as excited children see the wave coming, and then people’s backs and heads appear through the other side of the wave. Sometimes the bob up, above it, like a ripple in a cloth being smoothed out. I must remember how little sunbathing entertains me – but how much this wave-watching does. I always forget, and return to land for ten minutes until my restlessness calls me back to the sea.

Of course, I don’t always have time or effort to read Virginia Woolf – sometimes I barely have the energy to write more than a few uninspired lines.

However, it gives me the chance to experiment with my own writing. I don’t write a lot, other than my blog and my diary, and my diary’s a space where I can experiment, see what I like; what suits me and what doesn’t, what doesn’t work and what does.

If I can’t experiment in my diary, where can I?

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