Our book selection for this month's discussion is Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own
. This week I want to look at the idea presented in the title of the book. Woolf's suggestion is that for a woman to be able to write (have the time, energy, space, resources) she needs a room of her own and money. Her suggestion is an endowment of 500 a year (which today of course wouldn't pay for one month's rent, but I'm sure someone could come up with a sum that accounts for inflation) which would allow women the opportunity and the time to write without the constraints of funding the habit through backbreaking work. The room is for privacy and sufficient uninterrupted periods to concentrate.
Woolf sees the numerous books that men (some who, as she puts it, "have no apparent qualification save that they are not women") have produced and the vast amounts of resources that in her day had been set aside to develop the life of the mind for men. She wonders why women have been denied these same opportunities. Why must the women's colleges scrimp and save? Why is it so much easier for the men to get an education and find the resources to write? She wonders at how many more books by women we would have or how much better the ones we do have would be if women had privacy and resources.
Over the last century much has changed in the world. Women often have equal access to educational opportunities, but I continue to hear ongoing conversations about how much more difficult it is for women to write. One of the very first conversations on this blog involved why it is easier for men to blog. And the question of why aren't we seeing emerging books by women is asked on a fairly frequent basis. Is Woolf correct - do we just lack the time, privacy, and resources? (I have to laugh at that because my writing this discussion post has been interrupted a few times by my toddler asking me to taste the food she is making in her toy kitchen...). How do you respond to Woolf's assertions? Do they hold truth? How do they apply today?
And on a more personal note... Why do or don't you write (blog...)? How does it work for you? When do you find the time?
Labels: A Room of One's Own, Book Discussions, Gender Issues