Spaces and Places

Sunday, 11 September 2011


















What I want is a season of calm weather. Contemplation. I get this sometimes about 3 A.M. when I always wake, open my window and look at the sky over the apple trees.

—Virginia Woolf, from a diary entry dated 17 August, 1938 (quote found here).

Last night, I lay in bed wide awake, mentally working through all the things I still have to do before I submit my book manuscript to my publisher. A huge wave of restlessness washed over me, and I knew that sleep would be impossible. Then, at about 3am in the morning, I heard a bunch of drunk people screaming outside my window and this restlessness became a need to be very far away from everything. I opened up my laptop and looked at these images. They pacified me enough to fall asleep, and they calmed my thoughts into a gentle hum at the back of my mind.

It's typical to feel restless when you have a mounting deadline and when you've been working on something for so long. I always become a big ball of stress when I have to finish a big project. And somehow, this stress is amplified when all I see around me are the usual settings of office, study, familiar window. I suddenly wish for expanse and different spaces I could inhabit. I suppose that's why these images worked their calming magic on me last night. Still, I wish there was a way to momentarily inhabit them, to step inside each one of them for a little while, and wash my eyes over their scenery. I also wish I could step inside Woolf's season of calm, and look outside my window only to gaze at apple trees, rather than a street filled with Saturday night drunks ... a girl can dream, right?

Image credits (from top to bottom): 1. Untitled, 2. Untitled, 3. Untitled, 4. @ p.a.m., 5. Untitled, 6. Untitled, 7. ☆Christmas Stars Diamond☆, 8. s'mores, 9. Untitled, 10. Looking Out Through The Arbor, 11. Untitled, 12. Untitled, 13. Untitled, 14. John Singer Sargent's Breakfast In The Loggia, 15. Untitled, 16. Felice Casorati "Dreaming Of Pomegranates" 1912, 17. Untitled.


Naomi Bulger said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Today is Sunday, but I am working. I have to finish a charity report. I have to research medical conditions for a feature article. I have to write the Editor's letter for the next issue of my magazine. I have to edit a letter to a newspaper from my mother. I have to do the grocery shopping, and fill a prescription for my husband. I have to take the dog to the vet, as he has developed an unexplained limp. I feel like I will never finish my book. I am procrastinating on all of the above by reading my blog subscriptions. Calm and contemplation is so far from my life, and this post was like a sudden sit-down beside a lovely window, a cup of tea, and finally a big, contented sigh. Good luck with the submission plans, and, THANK YOU.

odessa said...

these images are indeed soothing. best of luck with your manuscript! :)

Miss Flying V said...

These are such beautiful pictures. I would like to just step inside them...
I wish you all the best with your manuscript!


that kate said...

Every single one is perfect. Good luck!

summertoast said...

Goodluck for your manuscript :)

Leah said...

I always find that the only thing that solves this is to go somewhere unfamiliar. I trick my mind out of its complacency by taking it out of its comfort zone.
Disconnecting the internet helps sometimes, too!

Danielle P. said...

Yes. To everything.

andrea despot said...

i love that quote by woolf and i love these images - they certainly do have a sense of calm and expanse, something different from the ordinary. glad they could help you and good luck on finishing your manuscript!

SJ said...

a beautiful selection of images hila, they've completely changed my mood just looking at them.

~A said...

I love everything about this post.

Anonymous said...

New to your blog and love it. Needed these peaceful images seen through my tears mourning for my fallen friends at the twin towers, today on it's 10th anniversary.

tywo said...

Oh, all these photos are so beautiful, and relaxing. Thank you for sharing. I shall go to sleep in a good mood.
Have a lovely week!


HomeCollection. said...

(the 12th picture is Merci Café in Paris)

Jazzy E (hivenn) said...

So stunning. x hivenn

aldrin said...

so beautiful! next time take a benadryl!

SARAH said...

It seems like Woolf could go anywhere, and it would be the calmest, most ethereal place. Deadlines are the worst (stressful!) and best (exciting!). I wish you luck and focus!

Jane Flanagan said...

Beautiful! I toss and turn too with lists of things to do and hopes of things still to be done. And I crave escapism from all of it so often. Much as I love my home it is a constant reminder of all I have to to and I long for a more neutral and elevating sort of place to rest my mind. These images work beautifully!

Olga said...

It's no wonder you need some rest after the amount of work you've done. However, I find myself thinking that, even when you relate some negative feelings of experiences, it is interesting to read your writing, and the reader is left with a positive feeling.

naomemandeflores said...

I've always had a huge fascination with big windows and how they can open up a dark and gloomy living space. Those images reminded me of that. Gorgeous.

Camila Faria

Sasha said...

I can relate to stress and a strong desire to be anywhere else. Somewhere less hustle and bustle. And when I get like that I usually end up wishing desperately for the ocean. Though, after these photos, I might start thinking about mountains as well.

Nancy Baric *negfilm said...

oh i am there with ya sistah! ;))

hold tight ;)

oh and delighted that an image from the cafe at merci in paris was featured...wink. nice.

elliottwithlove said...

Thanks for sharing these lovely images! I particularly like the Sargent painting. I'm in awe at how he was able to capture the image of natural light casting dappled shadows through the swaying leaves.

I know what you mean. I've felt that way many a times during my college years. (I wonder why that is. A sort of claustrophobia?) Although for me, I would daydream about wandering beautiful natural landscapes, rather than flip through images and photos.

Best wishes to you and your work. Hang in there, you're always done!

hila said...

naomi: so glad these images helped you!

odessa, miss flying v, that kate, summertoast, andrea despot: thanks, I need it :)

leah: unfortunately, I need the internet for my work, sigh.

danielle: yes, agreed.

sj: they are quiet moving, huh?

~a: thanks

anon: that's so touching, I am most sorry for your loss. It must have been a sad day.

tywo: I'm glad they helped you sleep too.

homecollection: thanks for that!

hivenn: agreed

aldrin: ha, I try to go drug-free with these problems :)

sarah: many thanks!

jane flanagan: I feel the same about my own home, I guess that's why we feel the need for escape every once in a while.

olga: ha, I guess it's better than writing one long whinge ;)

camila: oh yes I know, I dream of having such windows one day.

sasha: I think going and sitting by the beach is probably the most relaxing thing I can do these days.

nancy: I'm hanging in there! fingers crossed for all your work too.

elliottwithlove: thanks, I need to take a deep breath and continue working.

Mary Lou (not really a pseudonym) said...

amazing pictures! just what I needed :)

hila said...

my pleasure :)

Luci said...

This post had the same effect on me. Thanks Hila.

hila said...

my pleasure luci, thanks for popping over.