"If we never did anything we shouldn’t do, we’d never feel good about doing the things we should. If these are our last moments on Earth, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather go out with a buzz on." — Frank Underwood
“ Woolf often conceives of life this way: as a gift that you’ve been given, which you must hold onto and treasure but never open. Opening it would dispel the atmosphere, ruin the radiance—and the radiance of life is what makes it worth living. It’s hard to say just what holding onto life without looking at it might mean; that’s one of the puzzles of her books. But it has something to do with preserving life’s mystery; with leaving certain things undescribed, unspecified, and unknown; with savoring certain emotions, such as curiosity, surprise, desire, and anticipation. It depends on an intensified sense of life’s preciousness and fragility, and on a Heisenberg-like notion that, when it comes to our most abstract and spiritual intuitions, looking too closely changes what we feel. It has to do, in other words, with a kind of inner privacy, by means of which you shield yourself not just from others’ prying eyes, but from your own. Call it an artist’s sense of privacy.”
Joshua Rothman's New Yorker essay on Virginia Woolf’s idea of privacy is the best thing I’ve read in ages.
It rings especially poignant in the context of her own conflicted inner life, from her exuberant appreciation of the world’s beauty to her intense capacity for love to the deathly despair of her suicide letter.
Do yourself a favor and read Rothman’s full essay here.