Pick one woman in history or fiction to converse with for an hour and explain your choice. What would you talk about?
The thick aroma of yellowed pages wafting in and out the small library room, I sit on the small stool, knees hunched together nervously, my back bent over in a style that would render Rodin pleased. In the first glimpse of the tip of the large shoe, I feel my hands lightly quake with anticipation. “Mrs. Virginia Woolf”, she announces, a figure proud and aware. I clumsily stand; give her my hand. The warmth of her fingers wakes me, the real woman who gave life to Mrs. Dalloway and Waves beckons me to sit. She is especially important to me not only in the shadow of her professional accomplishments, but in the distinct sensitivity that with which she describes the world around her.
In her fiction–and in my vision–Woolf is not only eloquent, but accurate. Her voice; regal, echoes around the cavity of the library, powerful and sure, mentioning ideas, prose, her hatred of photography. I tell her about the progress we have made, both in feminism and in the sphere of mental illness. Access to higher education for women, Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, The Equal Pay Act, and Roe vs. Wade, as well as the many mental health prevention organizations all spark her attention, the picture of her impact, how her life could have been made different had she been born a century later. This literary figure, the continuing wave of 20th century feminism speaks on, ebbing in and out of thought like a spirit shaking with futurity.