Saturday, June 11, 2011

The butterfly of the moment

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? ~Vita Sackville-West

Okay, I never heard of Vita Sackville-West before, but I was looking at quotes about writing and this one captured me. It made me think.

Is writing a romance novel really clapping the net over the butterfly of the moment?

I looked up Sackville-West. She was an English poet and novelist, mainly in the 1930s and 40s, and had a long affair with Virginia Woolf. And I thought, oh, well, poetry. That's a very personal form of writing, and certainly qualifies as capturing the butterfly of the moment. Probably the haiku I write also qualify.

But really, what about a novel? Does it have to be "literature" to capture that butterfly? Or is any writing, creativity of the mind, a scramble with the butterfly net?

I don't know. What do you think?


  1. Ooh, I don't know. It works as a different metaphor for me. Do you net a moment to pin it down on a board and hide it away where it can gather dust, or do you revel in its freedom and chase it with no intention of ever catching it. That last one is writing for me.

  2. That's so nice, Rosie... It must be lovely to be a half-full person, as opposed to half-empty like me... :)