Virginia Woolf, the greatest novelist of the 20th century, is not generally known as a happy person. She is known as a troubled genius. But in her autobiographical book Moments of Being, she records her happiest memory, which is also her first memory:
If life has a base that it stands upon, if it is a bowl that one fills and fills and fills—then my bowl without a doubt stands on this memory. It is of lying asleep, half awake, in bed in the nursery at St. Ives. It is of hearing the waves breaking one, two, one, two, and sending a splash of water over the beach; and then breaking, one, two, one, two, behind a yellow blind. It is of hearing the blind draw its little acorn across the floor as the wind blew the blind out. It is of lying and hearing this splash and seeing this light, and feeling, it is almost impossible to conceive that I should be here; of feeling the purest ecstasy I can conceive.
Yes, the artist who ended up killing herself (her house was bombed during World War II, so she moved to another house, which then was also bombed, and then Woolf killed herself) had her happy days, particularly as a child, particularly during summertime, in the family vacation spot in St. Ives, Cornwall. Many of those childhood memories she drew on to create To the Lighthouse, which E. M. Forster and everyone else with any sense agrees is her best book.
Well, guess what? Now the view of the water that figures so strongly in To the Lighthouse is being threatened by a proposed development. What does the developer want to build? Apartments and a parking lot, duh:
The view Virginia Woolf had of the Cornish coast is under threat by the proposed construction of a three-story block of six flats and a car park...
Now that view, as well as a piece of important literary history, may be wiped out if construction plans proposed by developer Porthminster Beach View Ltd. is approved.
The Cornwall Council will decide tomorrow whether the development can go through. If you are like me and you've been fantasizing about visiting Cornwall someday so you can go to St. Ives and see the place the great modernist immortalized in her novel, you need to email the Cornwall Council right now.
Their email address is: email@example.com
I just sent them an email myself.
By the way? Small thing? Some other headlines in other publications that say Woolf was "inspired" by a "view" of a lighthouse to write To the Lighthouse are kind of weird. The lighthouse plays a big role in the story's structure, but To the Lighthouse was not "inspired" by a lighthouse. To the Lighthouse was inspired by the shocking sudden death of Woolf's mother.