Before that I had made my living by cadging odd jobs from newspapers, by reporting a donkey show here or a wedding there; I had earned a few pounds by addressing envelopes, reading to old ladies, making artificial flowers, teaching the alphabet to small children in a kindergarten. Such were the chief occupations that were open to women before 1918. I need not, I am afraid, describe in any detail the hardness of the work, for you know perhaps women who have done it; nor the difficulty of living on the money when it was earned, for you may have tried. But what still remains with me as a worse infliction than either was the poison of fear and bitterness which those days bred in me. To begin with, always to be doing work that one did not wish to do, and to do it like a slave, flattering and fawning, not always necessarily perhaps, but it seemed necessary and the stakes were too great to run risks; and then the thought of that one gift which it was death to hide – a small one but dear to the posessor – perishing and with it myself, my soul – all this became like a rust eating away the bloom of the spring, destroying the tree at its heart.
– Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
And that about sums up my life the last couple years. I’m tired of it.
Because I may have got my license, but my life’s still chaotic, and I don’t know where I’m going to be living in January, and there’s so much I want to do but can’t because I’m too busy making a subsistence (I wouldn’t call it a living) on minimum wage, always a paycheck from disaster. And I’m at the point of wondering: what am I doing? Maybe I should have stayed in academia. That’s what I’m good at, reading, and thinking, and writing down my thoughts. Not this; I’m not clever and ruthless enough for life outside the Ivory Tower.
Also, I’m perpetually on the verge of the flu, but it never quite develops into a full-blown infection. Which is good, because I can’t afford to miss work.
But, there are some bright points. I bought Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Sheridan’s The School for Scandal at the library book sale today. The world is a better place when you can read:
Guil: I think I have it. A man talking sense to himself is no madder than a man talking nonsense not to himself.
Ros: Or just as mad.
Guil: Or just as mad.
Ros: And he does both.
Guil: So there you are.
Ros: Stark raving sane.
And my birthday is on Friday. Brazilian Sister is coming in for a visit, and we’re going to go out for sushi and wine, and I’ll have nice weekend. So that’s something.