from my weekly wanderings, usually in Northern Virginia (NOVA).
My writing prompt this week came from my current read: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia
Woolf. I should confess I’m not a fan of Woolf, though to be fair I've only read one other of her works. It’s more precise to say I am not a
fan of stream of consciousness – which seems to be Woolf’s preferred method of
But she has her moments. There was a passage that I thought was lovely, in which the narrative describes Mrs.
Dalloway’s love for London.
people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar;
the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and
swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the
strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life;
London; this moment of June.
And this is my prompt. I too love my city – Washington D.C.
Truthfully, I live in Fredericksburg, about 40 miles south, and while I think
Fredericksburg is quaint, I think D.C. is glorious and ghastly. I’ll try to
explain, à la Woolf and stream of consciousness, which may be my one and only
attempt at this style.
So many people, always so many. The tourists looking up,
looking lost, looking excited, looking tired. The street performers ready to amuse for
pocket change, the derelict not caring to amuse, only for pocket change. The ambitious, the stressed annoyed - inconvenienced by the tourists, oblivious to the performers, disgusted by the derelict. The police, what’re they? Not tourists. Not locals.
From Springfield, McLean, Tyson’s, bedroom communities, guarding the city on
the hill. The monuments, glorious monuments to what can be, what could be, what
should be – what isn’t. But the ideal is – it still is. Graves of heroes, of unknown, their silent dangerous sentinel. The lesser monuments,
the hidden ones, the tourists won’t see – Einstein hidden in the Elms, the
Prophet of the Long Road, the Vietnam angels of mercy. Museums, luxury, motorcades, squalor, sirens, pigeons, the Potomac.
Cherry Blossoms. Four corners: Lincoln, Jefferson, the White House, Capitol
Hill, at the center Washington. Power, promise, progress, despair, deceit, decay - hope.