[Saturday 31 July]

My Own Brain

Here is a whole nervous breakdown in miniature. We came on Tuesday. Sank into a chair, could 
scarcely rise; everything insipid; tasteless, colourless. Enormous desire for rest. Wednesday—only wish to be
alone in the open air. Air delicious—avoided speech; could not read. Thought of my own power of writing with
veneration, as of something incredible, belonging to someone else; never again to be enjoyed by me. Mind a
blank. Slept in my chair. Thursday. No pleasure in life whatsoever; but felt perhaps more attuned to existence.
Character & idiosyncracy as Virginia Woolf completely sunk out. Humble & modest. Difficulty in thinking what
to say. Read automatically, like a cow chewing cud. Slept in chair. Friday. Sense of physical tiredness; but slight 
activity of the brain. Beginning to take notice. Making one or two plans. No power of phrase making. Difficulty 
in writing to Lady Colefax. Saturday (today) much clearer & lighter. Thought I could write, but resisted, or 
found it impossible. A desire to read poetry set in on Friday. This brings back a sense of my own individuality. 
Read some Dante & Bridges, without troubling to understand, but got pleasure from them. Now I begin to wish 
to write notes, but not yet novel. But today senses quickening. No 'making up' power yet; no desire to cast scenes 
in my book. Curiosity about literature returning: want to read Dante, Havelock Ellis, & Berlioz autobiography; 
also to make a looking glass with shell frame. These processes have sometimes been spread over several weeks.

Proportions Changed

That in the evening, or on colourless days, the proportions of the landscape change suddenly. I saw
people playing stoolball in the meadow: they appeared sunk far down on a flat board; & the downs raised high 
up, & mountainous round them. Detail was smoothed out. This was an extremely beautiful effect; the colours of 
the womens dresses also showing very bright & pure in the almost untinted surroundings. I knew, also, that the 
proportions were abnormal—as if I were looking between my legs.

Second Rate Art

i.e. C. by Maurice Baring. Within its limits, it is not second rate, or there is nothing markedly so, at 
first go off. The limits are the proof of its non-existence.. He can only do one thing: himself to wit; 
charming, clean, modest sensitive Englishman: outside that radius, & it does not carry far nor illumine 
much, all is—as it should be; light, sure, proportioned, affecting even; told in so well bred a manner 
that nothing is exaggerated, all related, proportioned. I could read this for ever, I said. L. said one 
would soon be sick to death of it.


of the sparrow tribe. Two resolute, sunburnt, dusty girls, in jerseys & short skirts, with packs on their 
backs, city clerks, or secretaries, tramping along the road in the hot sunshine at Ripe. My instinct at 
once throws up a screen, which condemns them: I think them in every way angular, awkward & self 
assertive. But all this is a great mistake. These screens shut me out. Have no screens, for screens are 
made out of our own integument; & get at the thing itself, which has nothing whatever in common with 
a screen. The screen making habit, though, is so universal, that probably it preserves our sanity. If we 
had not this device for shutting people off from our sympathies, we might, perhaps, dissolve utterly. 
Separateness would be impossible. But the screens are in the excess; not the sympathy.

Returning Health

This is shown by the power to make images: the suggestive power of every sight and word is 
enormously increased. Shakespeare must have had this to an extent which makes my normal state the 
state of a person blind, deaf, dumb, stone-stockish & fish-blooded. And I have it compared with poor 
Mrs Bartholomew almost to the extent that Shre has it compared with me.