Dani Shapiro
February 3, 2007

Why Moments of Being?

In trying to come up with a name for this blog I found myself thinking about my favorite writer, Virginia Woolf, and her memoir, Moments of Being. In it, Woolf writes about the difference between the “cotton wool of daily existence” and true moments of being, by which I think she means aliveness–an absolute awareness of the importance of the present moment.

Woolf might have blogged if she were writing in 2007. As it happens she kept detailed, incredibly vivid journals. One of my prized possessions is a first American edition of her diaries, which I keep within reach on my desk. Almost every time I dip into it, I find myself writing something down. Here’s one:

“Reflection: It is presumably a bad thing to look through articles, reviews, etc. to find one’s own name. Yet I often do.”

So Woolf would probably have googled herself! What a relief. With my new novel, Black & White, coming out in just a few months, my mind is an anxious animal, darting all over the place. Possibly the craziest part of being a writer is this divide between doing the work itself and then putting that work out there in the world. The near-hermetic quiet required to create the universe of a novel–and then the frenzy (and you want a frenzy!) of that novel becoming a public thing.