A Slow Walk Into Inspiration

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On her essay "The Narrow Bridge of Art", Virginia Woolf discusses much more than the use of poetic prose in writing; she carefully portrays human beings as the core of the existence of writing. As she says, "Life is always and inevitably much richer than we who try to express it" (23). Writers seek for life as dogs for water; they take men and women of all kind as the one and only fountain of inspiration in which they bathe so as to write another work. Woolf's short story "Kew Gardens" is a vivid example of that kind of inspiration someone with the sense of hearing can find just by taking a walk in the park one afternoon. In the case of "Kew Gardens", a snail assumes the role of the writer who divagates among the strangers' words without loosing trace. Its slow movement is the pleasing, and sometimes tortuous, path towards the pencil and the piece of paper.

On "The Narrow Bridge of Art", Woolf states that the emotions people produce are answers to those new challenges which overflow from the writers' minds. These answers are not only given by the dialogues (sometimes monologues) that a person can catch in moments of solemn contemplation, but also by the different gamut of images which are able to produce a profound bewilderment. That is why in "Kew Gardens" not all the characters have a thread easily to be followed in their dialogues, as the one of the two elderly women of low middle class. Sometimes coherent words are not needed; just the essence of a human being is required for emotions to be trembled. These images are not only children of an overwhelmed magic; horror and traumatized depression, just to mention a few, are also living existences of this world of muses which caught the writer's soul as easily as flies are caught in spider webs. As Woolf writes, "It is a spring night, the moon is up, the nightingale singing, the willows bending over the river. Yes, but at the same time a diseased old woman is picking over her greasy rags on a hideous iron bench" (16). The two old ladies from "Kew Gardens" are not Boticelli's Graces, but they are immersed in the path towards writing, they are as dignified as Minerva's bust to be considered as a source for inspiration for an artistic manifestation to be created; they also have their own story to tell and to be told.
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