Secret Transaction: Voice Answering a Voice (2020)
One continuous line of non-sequential text from Orlando by Virginia Woolf
A non-linear reading of Virginia Woolf’s wonderful novel/love letter, Orlando. The resulting sphere comprises every line of the text cut up and re-read at random, not unlike William Burrough’s ”cut-ups”, and reassembled into one line where time is subverted. The novel is said to be Woolf’s love letter to Vita Sackville-West. For me it is a testament to the state of becoming, an existential search through exploration of identity, gender, art, written expression, and especially, connection with nature. Orlando lives for over three hundred years beginning in the Elizabethan age as a wealthy man. He periodically “falls asleep” and wakes up in a new era, eventually waking as a woman - wherein (s)he loses all her rights to her family home and estate owing to her sex and failure to produce a male heir. Over the course of that time (s)he struggles to work on her epic piece of writing, The Oak Tree, the final expression of her voice for which she’s been searching over centuries. I have read this novel several times as a time-centric linear narrative, but my re-reading of it here is the opposite of linearity emphasizing process and the connection I feel to poignant passages that have meaning to me and the chaotic internal process naturally accompanying the creative act. I have called it “Secret transaction: voice answering a voice”, paraphrased from Woolf’s own words.