The Sunday Salon: A Woman’s Day

Already the first day of March has passed, whisked away by a cold lion’s breath of wind blowing across a cloudless sky.  It was taken up with purely normal, routine events ~ attending church, Sunday lunch with my mother, some errands and shopping, and then a lovely interlude of lying on the couch with my book.

06a6419328a063ef9afee110_lMrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf’s novel published in 1925, is the beautifully rendered portrait of a single day in a woman’s life,  a woman not unlike myself in many ways.   And so reading this novel, which was revolutionary in its time, is a bit like entering my own mind.   As Clarissa Dalloway goes about her daily tasks in preparation for a party she’s giving, swirling through her mind are memories of her youth, thoughts about her solid and rather predictable marriage, concerns about her grown daughter, and somewhat fearful projections about the onset of old age and the inevitability of death.  

The book as a whole makes me think of a map of the human mind –  as if one could draw it off in sections and label each part…the husband, the child, memories of first love, regrets about roads not taken, fears about the future…while sprinkled over top of these complex layers of thought are the the mundane moments…buying flowers for the party (Clarissa) or wandering through Target in search of  plastic containers for salad (me).

So there is something very touching about this book, and I feel a strange kinship with Clarissa Dalloway, even though she lives in London in the aftermath of the  first World War, and I live in the States, in a country caught up in crises of its own.  For though we are decades apart in time and experience, our days are remarkably the same.  

Is “a woman’s day” worthy to be the subject of a novel?  That was a big question in 1925, when novels were meant to take on theme’s of epic proportion.  And yet, here we are, nearly 100 years later, still reading and relating to Mrs. Dalloway, her fears, her confusions, her small pleasures.  Obviously, this woman’s day is relevant to many of us.

My day is nearing it’s end.  Sunday evenings are always rather quiet for me.  My husband is out, attending rehearsal for Measure for Measure, the men’s chorus he belongs to.   The dogs and I have the house to ourselves for several hours, and that’s not an un-welcome rarity these days.  I’ve spent some time at the piano, dutifully practicing for the community theater musical I’m accompanying, and then poured myself a glass of wine and settled in to catch up with you and your Sunday reading.  You see, I quite like to read about women’s days, for in their way, they are a composite of life. 

Now tell me, what was your day like?


6 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: A Woman’s Day

  1. Thanks for the thoughtful, lovely post, Becca. My day was spent with friends. We saw deer along the way, while driving. We also stopped by a bookstore to buy our friends some books. I saw a copy of Mrs Dalloway for 4.99 and thought of picking it up, because Tuesday has influenced me to read Woolf (yes, I still haven’t). But anyway, we were in a hurry so we just got those books for our friends and left. Tomorrow we’ll go back to linger, my husband and I. You might’ve just convinced me to go ahead and pick Mrs Dalloway up instead of just borrowing from the library. I really loved your post. Have a great week!

  2. I love Mrs Dalloway – it’s one of my favourite Woolfs. It was a very ordinary day here, too, although I’m sure Virginia could have made something spectacular, modernist and phenomenological out of it! 😉

  3. You are a beautiful writer. But now that I rethink that, let me rephrase: You write so beautifully! (I haven’t seen your pic but I’m sure you’re beautiful, too!)
    I loved Mrs. Dalloway and it was the first book that I wanted to re-read; something I have yet to do. I love reading reviews of it. And it’s the only Woolf I’ve read.

  4. What a wonderful post! I definitely find a “woman’s day” something worthy of literature. I love finding commonalities despite the passage of time, setting and all of that.

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