Virginia Woolf ~ On Life
“We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep. It's as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out windows, or drown themselves, or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us are slowly devoured by some disease, or, if we're very fortunate, by time itself. There's just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds & expectations, to burst open & give us everything we've ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) know these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning, we hope, more than anything for more. Heaven only knows why we love it so.”
― Virginia Woolf
Camille Claudel, A Female Genius ~ By Monique Lucy Weberink
A Female Genius…
“You're wrong to think it's about you. You're a sculptor, Rodin, not a sculpture. You ought to know. I am that old woman with nothing on her bones. And the aging young girl... that's also me. And the man is me too. Not you. I gave him my toughness. He gave me his emptiness in return. There you are... three times me. The Holy Trinity, trinity of emptiness.”
Among the female artists I admire is Camille Claudel a French sculptor and graphic artist who lived from 1864 till 1943.  I truly admire her strong determination for being accepted as an artist, which was definitely not easy in her time at the end of the 19th century. Her life is a story about having to go through a live long struggle in both her private and in her professional life.
Since she was a child Camile was fascinated with earthly materials, in particular stone and soil. With the support of her father she was able to attend the Academie Colarossi where she eventually met Alfred Boucher who was already a established sculptor. He become her mentor for several years and also introduced her to August Rodin that later on took over the role as being her mentor and it became the beginning of their passionate and tumultuous relationship. She started to work in Rodin’s workshop and after some time Claudel became a great source of inspiration for Rodin, she was his model, confidante and lover.  After an unhappy relationship that continued for over 15 years, Claudel finally left Rodin.  Her private life was left to bits and pieces her professional success then started to take off. But it would be a mistake to assume that Claudel's reputation had been established and then survived the years simply because of her ‘notorious’ association with Rodin. To illustrate her reputation: the novelist and art critic Octave Mirbeau described her as "A revolt against nature: a woman genius". Her early work is similar to Rodin's in spirit, but shows an imagination and lyricism quite her own, particularly in the famous Bronze Waltz (1893).
In the period after 1905 Claudel appeared to be mentally ill. She not only disappeared for long periods of time but also destroyed many of her statues. She exhibited signs of paranoia and eventually was diagnosed as having schizophrenia. Her condition deteriorated up to a point where she started accusing Rodin of stealing ‘her’ ideas and of even leading a conspiracy to kill her.
Apart from her father her family did not support her decision to become a sculptor at all. But her father kept supporting her financially but after he died in 1913 her brother had Camille admitted to a psychiatric institution right away. The word went out she had volunteered to be committed. But it was her brother who had signed the admission forms. The hospital records that have been preserved clearly show that even though she did have many mental outbursts, she was very clear headed while working on her art. It was the will of her brother, and her mother as well, that she was not released from the institution.
It is really sad to see that a brilliant artist like Claudel literally got locked away simply because she did not conform to the norms of society of that time. Where there male artists were admired, the artistic behavior of Claudel was considered as strange and even schizophrenic. It is my opinion that her insanity might have been largely due to the social constraints and pressure forced on her up to a point that even her own family and Rodin who she so dearly loved and abandoned her had viciously betrayed her. She felt rejected and suffered a lonely and sad life. We are fortunate that a large part of her artworks have survived leaving us with her beautiful and inspirational legacy.
Monique Lucy Weberink
Virginia Woolf ~ The Sea
“The sigh of all the seas breaking in measure round the isles soothed them; the night wrapped them; nothing broke their sleep, until, the birds beginning and the dawn weaving their thin voices in to its whiteness”
― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
Karen Blixen ~ Consciousness Of Freedom
"It is when one begins to lose the consciousness of freedom, and when the idea of necessity enters the world at all, when there is any hurry or strain anywhere, a letter to be written or a train to catch, when you have got to work, to make the horses of the dream gallop, or to make the rifles go off, that the dream is declining, and turning into the nightmare, which belongs to the poorest and most vulgar class of dreams.”
― Karen Blixen, Out of Africa
Katherine Mansfield ~ I Want To Talk To Tchekov
“Ach, Tchekov! Why are you dead? Why can’t I talk to you in a big darkish room at late evening—where the light is green from the waving trees outside? I’d like to write a series of Heavens: that would be one.”
― Katherine Mansfield, Journal of Katherine Mansfield
Katherine Mansfield playing the cello, Queen's College, Harley Street, London, between 1903-1905
Irene Nemirovsky ~ A Feeling Of Solitude
“But she loved studying and books, the way other people love wine for its power to make you forget. What else did she have? She lived in a deserted, silent house. The sound of her own footsteps in the empty rooms, the silence of the cold streets beyond the closed windows, the rain and the snow, the early darkness, the green lamp beside her that burned throughout the long evenings and which she watched for hours on end until its light began to waver before her weary eyes: this was the setting for her life.”
― Irène Némirovsky, The Wine of Solitude
Zelda Fitzgerald ~ Loneliness
The sky lay over the city like a map showing the strata of things and the big full moon toppled over in a furrow like the abandoned wheel of a gun carriage on a sunset field of battle and the shadows walked like cats and I looked into the white and ghostly interior of things and thought of you and I looked on their structural outsides and thought of you and was lonesome.”
― Zelda Fitzgerald, Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda
Anais Nin ~ Are We Dead Or Alive?
“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”
― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

Zaida Ben-Yúsuf: 'Portrait-Study', 1898
Sylvia Plath ~ I Want…
“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.”
― Sylvia Plath
Anna Akhmatova ~ In The Evening
IN THE EVENING  BY ANNA AKHMATOVA
The garden rang with music
Of inexpressible despair.
A dish of oysters spread on ice
Smelled like the ocean, fresh and sharp.
He told me: "I'm a faithful friend!"-
And lightly touched my dress.
How different from embraces
The touch of those two hands.
That's how one strokes a cat or bird
Or looks at slender lady riders...
Just laughter in his quiet eyes,
Beneath his light gold lashes.
And the despondent voices of the violins
Sing out beyond the hanging smoke:
"Give blessings to heaven above
At last you're alone with your beloved."
March 1913