Tumblring

I’ve stumbled upon tumblr and I love it!

I’m not totally sure what it is about tumblr that’s is so fascinating, maybe just it’s simplicity and user content.

My tumblr is http://beggab00.tumblr.com/ 🙂

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A slow path of destruction CC-BY

Another poem about drug addiction (not my best one, but meh, it’s ok). I actually consider this as a lyric to a song that is yet to be written, hopefully that match will happen sometime 🙂

A slow path of destruction

One day at a time
one pray when I cry
for this fucking time
I shall be free.

One day takes too long
one pray’s not enough
for so fucking long
I’ve done so much wrong.

I’m going crazy
I’m losing myself
I’ve become lazy
lazy in life

The beginning was nice
just fooling around
but then I turned into ice
fuck this shit!

In the beginning I knew
but quickly fooled myself
I just want to start all new
fuck all this!

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Poems/lyrics CC-BY

I’m gonna post some old poems I’ve written in English in the past here. Everything is under CC-BY so you people can do what you want with it, just mention me as an author and hopefully it’ll touch someone 🙂

This one is about drug addiction and how that world might seem like fun, but in reality it’s hell!

Hell in disguise

Walking on the clouds
just having a walk
talking to the angels
about all kinds of stuff.

Thinking in the clouds
just having a thought
drinking angel juice
drinking all kinds of stuff.

This feels like heaven
feels like that
this feels like havin’
havin’ all that.

Jumping on the clouds
just jumping around
bumping on the angels
and on all kinds of stuff.

Flying in the clouds
just flying around
crying before the angels
because of all kinds of stuff.

Burning up the clouds
just burning everything up
These angels are demons
this is feeling all wrong.

Yes, this feels like heaven
feels like that
this feels like heaven
but it’s hell in disguise.

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Reflection of this eventful year!

2012… I know the year isn’t over but I was reflecting over it and thinking how many life changing events have happened to me this year;
My best friend had her first child in Feburary, a beautiful baby boy,
I started my relationship early this year with a smart and sexy fellow nerd (he is even a mobile app developer like me), (upd. I broke up with him couple of days after I wrote this, it just wasn’t working out :P)
I started practicing dance (aka Swing and rock’n’roll and West Coast Swing) and I love it sooo much (only other “exercise” I’ve loved this much is Kundalini yoga)
I bought my first apartment in July in my dream neighbourhood in Reykjavík, only 15 minutes walk from downtown, 5 minutes from my dad, and 2 minutes from my son’s school,
I met my grandpa for the first time last month, he’s an alchoholic, now sober, and has been living on the street for decades (it’s really a wonder that he’s still alive)
I changed jobs this month, I’m now developing Android quizup games at Plain Vanilla and it’s really exciting,
My son just started 1st grade last week, (it’s such a huge leap from kindergarten)!

I’m also proud of organizing a Public Domain Day event, Android Workshop, CC Salon, give a lightning talk about our work in CC Iceland, talk about copyright issues and trying to make time to be involved in the newly founded PirateParty Iceland.

This week I’ve spent my evenings reading the Nights Dawn Trilogy. I’m halfway through the second book, they’re just so great! Hamilton could spare the details sometimes, but at the same time all the backstories and details do often matter very much for the whole story, maybe I’m just so anxious to know more of the storyline, it’s really so many intergalactic stories going on that all connect at one time or another. I think this split to Adamists and Edenists really could happen in the future (I’m so fascinated by Edenism).

Well…time to go back to my book… 😉

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Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite authors. I return to his books when I feel I need inspiration and piece of mind. I read the Alchemist again the other day. It’s an amazing story about how you only get the most out of life when you live your dream, even if your life purpose is in your nearest environment,sometimes you have to go a long way to realize it.

My favorite book of his is Veronika decides to die and I read it at least once a year. It is about that if you fall in the trap of habits and are afraid to try new things and follow your dream, your life will just slide past you. It’s good to be a little crazy and don’t think about what others are the society thinks, life is too short for that. The movie adaption with Sarah Michelle Geller is actually quite good (though of course movie adaptions are never as good as the books in my opinion).

When I read these books, and Eleven minutes, the Zahir, By the River Piedra I sat down and wept, The Witch of Portebello for the first time I felt like they were speaking to me and referring to things happening in my life at that time. It’s rather amazing.

His newest book, The Winner stands alone, is a very good criticism on the “glamour” and the “perfect” look obsession in Hollywood (which the whole Western Society as also suffering from). His other books, Brida, The Devil and Miss Prym,The Aleph and The Fifth Mountain are also good, but I have only read each of them once and they didn’t have as profound effect on me as the others.

Paulo Coelho has experienced a lot in his life, his parents put him into a mental institution because of his refusal of living a “normal” life in Brazil, was arrested by the military government because of his liberal views and messed with drugs and mythical experiences. Even though he wanted to be a writer from a young age, he didn’t publish his first book, The Pilgrimage, until he was forty. The Pilgrimage is autobiographical and is about his spiritual awakenings when he walked The Road to Santiago

Coelho also supports file sharing (though he isn’t always in the position to give away his books because of his publishing deals) and has seen an increase in his books sales when they have been shared on p2p networks. Now you can buy his books on e-book format for only 0,99 USD and I promise you, they are definitely worth it!! 😉

Often when I’m feeling down I read his quotes and it always makes me feel better 🙂

Hopefully Coelho will inspire you as much as he has done for me!

“It is important to take from what we see every day
the secrets that routine otherwise prevents us from perceiving.”
Paulo Coelho

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Reykjavík Digital Freedoms Conference


The fourth annual conference on digital freedom will be held on 29th March in the cinema Bíó Paradís.  The subject of the conference this year are two, Open Access to Scholarly Publications and Public Rights and Special Interests.The conference is organized by the Icelandic Digital Freedoms Society in co-operation with OpenAccess.is. Admission is free but visitors are kindly requested to register on the site http://rdfc.is/ , that also contains a full agenda. Most lectures will be given in English.

== Keynote speakers ==

 

Before and After SOPA
The actions around the Internet blackout on Wednesday 18 January are already being recognised as a watershed in digital activism.  For the first time, key Internet companies came together with millions of Internet users to express their concern over the SOPA and PIPA legislation that is currently making its way through the US legislative system.  But to understand why this confrontation happened, we need to look back not just at the last few years, but the last few centuries.  Doing so will help digital activists to formulate a strategy for the future, when the forces behind SOPA/PIPA – and the equally troubling Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – try again and again to push through similar legislation and secret treaties, to the detriment of the Internet and all who use it.

 

Open Access in Europe: how is it progressing?
Open Access can progress on several fronts – the development of policy, technical enhancements that better enable it, and cultural shifts that accelerate its acceptance. In Europe over the past couple of years we’ve seen progress in all these areas, and the cultural shift in particular is rather hot news at the moment. I will provide an overview of what has been happening and point to some of the reasons why so that we can work out how to continue to capitalise on these things in the coming months.
Alma Swan is a consultant working in the field of scholarly communication. She is  a director of Key Perspectives Ltd. and holds honorary academic  positions at the University of Southampton School of Electronics and  Computer Science and the University of Warwick Business School. Alma is  Convener forEnabling Open Scholarship, the global organization of  universities promoting the principles of open scholarship in the  academic community.
Her  work covers market research and business modeling, project management  and evaluation, research communication practices and behaviors, and the  study and promotion of new forms of scholarly communication in the age  of the Web. She writes and makes frequent presentations on scholarly  communication issues.

 

=== About the conference hosts ===
Icelandic Digital Freedoms Society (FSFÍ)  was founded in March, 2008. The goal of  FSFÍ is to advocate, foster,  and protect digital freedoms so that rights of Icelanders are maintained  in a digital world. The focus of  FSFÍ is that our technology, culture,  communications and knowledge are  free.
OpenAccess.is is an Icelandic interest group for open access with a goal to get the   government, universities, and public institutions, that support  research  and academic endavours, to form a policy around open access   publications. The group also aims to get Icelandic universities to sign   the Berlin Declaration from 2003.

 

==Dagskrá/Schedule ==
09:00 Coffee and registration
09:30 – 10:30 Keynote: Open Access in Europe: how is it progressing? – Alma Swan, SPARC Europe
10:30 – 10:50 Open access book publishing in Iceland – Ian Watson, Bifröst University
10:50 – 11:15 Coffee break
11:15 – 11:40 Iceland’s participation in OpenAIRE – Sólveig Þorsteinsdóttir, National University Hospital
11:40 – 12:00 TB
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 13:50 Lightning talks organized by Hakkavélin
14:00 – 15:00 Keynote: Before and After SOPA – Glyn Moody, freelance journalist
15:00 – 15:20 Criminalized by collecting societies – Dagþór Haraldsson
15:20 – 15:50 Coffee break (30 minutes)
15:50 – 16:10 The Full Potential of the Internet – Jonas Öberg
16:15 – 16:35 Ebooks and accessibility – Birkir Gunnarsson
16:40 – 17:00 Mining for freedom in the european institutions – Stefan Marsiske

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Frelsinu fórnað

Here’s an article we in FSFÍ wrote when SOPA/PIPA was being discussed in the congress. Unfortunately we didn’t get it published (damn Vísir.is) so I’m publishing it here. Even though SOPA/PIPA wasn’t passed, this battle over the freedom if the Internet is far from over, ACTA being the biggest threat right now!

———-

Sögur fljúga þess efnis að aðilar á borð við Google, Facebook og Wikipedia ætli að loka vefsíðum sínum til að sýna fram á skaðleg áhrif nýs frumvarps sem liggur fyrir Bandaríkjaþingi. Frumvarpið kallast SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) og er ætlað að koma í veg fyrir ólöglega dreifingu efnis með því að heimila höfundaréttarsamtökum að láta loka aðgengi að vefsvæðum þar sem efni er ólöglega dreift.

SOPA hefur teygt anga sína til Íslands því fjölmiðlar hafa greint frá hugmynd STEF um að taka upp svipaða löggjöf á Íslandi. STEF horfir til norsks frumvarps í anda SOPA og vill sneiða hjá dómstólum til að flýta fyrir málsmeðferð. Það er skelfilegt í réttarríki eins og Íslandi, að upp komi hugmynd um að sniðganga dómstóla, sérstaklega þegar Evrópudómstóllinn hefur sagt að svona aðgerðir vega alvarlega að mannréttindum eins og tjáningarfrelsi og friðhelgi einkalífsins. Mannréttindasamtök og netfyrirtæki eru í hópi rúmlega 900 aðila sem gefa sig opinberlega út fyrir að vera andstæðingar SOPA.

Ólöglegt athæfi á auðvitað ekki að líðast en það réttlætir ekki frelsisskerðandi aðgerðir. Íbúðarblokk er ekki lokað og íbúar sviptir heimili sínu ef einn þeirra selur fíkniefni. Á sama hátt á ekki að loka vefsvæði þegar einhverjir notendur þess dreifa efni ólöglega. Hugmyndin ein og sér er fáránleg auk þess sem slíkar lokanir vegna athafna notenda setur óeðlilegar kröfur á vefstjóra, hýsingaraðila og aðra milligönguaðila. Þegar allt kemur til alls eru margar leiðir framhjá lokunum þannig að aðgerðirnar skila engu nema miklum fjárútlátum.

Peningunum væri betur varið í að byggja upp löglega valkosti fyrir neytendur. Í Bandaríkjunum er umferð Netflix, sem auðveldar löglegan aðgang neytenda að efni á hagkvæman hátt nærri 30% af heildarumferð á álagstímum. Til samanburðar nemur BitTorrent umferð einungis 13,5% af heildarumferð og þá er meðtalin lögleg dreifing. Í Bretlandi þar sem Netflix er ekki í boði, er umferð í gegnum BitTorrent aftur á móti tæp 30%.

Grínistinn Louis CK gerði tilraun til að selja nýjasta myndefnið sitt, án tæknilegra takmarkana, fyrir aðeins 5 bandaríkjadali. Á 12 dögum seldi hann meira en 200.000 eintök sem samsvarar rúmlega einni milljón bandaríkjadala, þrátt fyrir að hver sem er hafi getað dreift efninu ólöglega. Á svipuðum nótum er markvert að sala milli 2010 og 2011 hjá Gogoyoko jókst um 60% og um 30% hjá Tónlist.is. Fjármunum er augljóslega betur varið í að styðja við aðgengilegar og hagkvæmar dreifingarleiðir en að koma á lögum sem brjóta á mannréttindum.

Félag um stafrænt frelsi á Íslandi (FSFÍ) er sammála STEF og öðrum höfundaréttarsamtökum um að ólögleg dreifing efnis á ekki að líðast. Við teljum samt að grundvallarmannréttindi eigi að vera á hærri skör sett en hugsanlegt tjón höfundaréttarsamtaka sem hægt er að draga úr með því að auðvelda aðgengi að löglegu efni. Þegar ein iðngrein krefst þess að tjáningarfrelsi og friðhelgi einkalífsins séu lögð til hliðar í sína þágu er orðið tímabært að spyrja hvort sérhagsmunir eða mannréttindi vegi þyngra.

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Android workshop

I hosted an Android workshop-Introduction for beginners on Saturday in Hakkavélin. It was a lot of fun, about 15 people showed up, eager to learn Android programming and they were some fast learners 🙂 I think I managed to teach them some tricks and a good basic to build upon. I’m thinking of having a more advanced Android programming some time soon, and make that for a whole day. The slides are available here on slideshare.

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New improved gogoyoko app for Android!

We released a new big update of the gogoyoko Android app on Thursday! I’m very proud of it 🙂 I wrote about it at the gogoyoko blog.

 

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Public Domain Day – Virginia Woolf

In December I stumbled upon this great initiative, Public Domain Day

“On this day of great celebrations worldwide, we also invite to celebrate the impressive wealth of knowledge, information and beauty that today, like every year on this day, becomes freely available to humankind. Every year on New Year’s Day, in fact, due to the expiration of copyright protection terms on works produced by authors who died several decades earlier, thousands of works enter the public domain – that is, their content is no longer owned or controlled by anyone, but it rather becomes a common treasure, available for anyone to freely use for any purpose.”

I thought that we had to celebrate this here in Iceland, the literature nation we are. So last week (4. January – New years day is a bit optimistic I thought, everyone is hungover) I hosted the event at Næsti bar (Next bar) in co-operation with FSFÍ and Lesstofan publisher. About 15 people showed up and we had four readings, plus Lesstofan had a short talk about their publishing company. Lesstofan was founded last year by 5 young people who met in the University of Iceland studying Icelandic, and their focus is on publishing books that are in the public domain. The first reading was an introduction from a training book by Robert Baden-Powell, the guy who founded the scouts, next was a very black and funny  Grimms’ fairy tale, next I read from Virginia’s Woolf essay, A Room of One’s Own, and last but not least we heard a fraction of Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. The event was very successful, people enjoyed it a lot and the plan is to have it again next year. It really woke a interest for me of many authors that came to the public domain this year, most notionally Virginia Woolf. I have to admit I have never read her work, but I have now, and her essay blew me away. It’s a very interesting view of women and fiction. The whole text can be found at Project Gutenberg,but here is the text I put together from her essay:

A Room of One’s Own

By Virginia Woolf

“First published on 24 October 1929,[1] the essay was based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women’s colleges at Cambridge University in October 1928. While this extended essay in fact employs a fictional narrator and narrative to explore women both as writers of and characters in fiction, the manuscript for the delivery of the series of lectures, titled “Women and Fiction”, and hence the essay, are considered non-fiction.[2] The essay is generally seen as a feminist text, and is noted in its argument for both a literal and figural space for women writers within a literary tradition dominated by patriarchy.”(Wikipedia)

The narrator goes to the British Museum looking for answers.

Have you any notion of how many books are written about women in the course of one year? Have you any notion how many are written by men? Here had I come with a notebook and a pencil proposing to spend a morning reading, supposing that at the end of the morning I should have transferred the truth to my notebook. How shall I ever find the grains of truth embedded in all this mass of paper? I asked myself, and in despair began running my eye up and down the long list of titles. Even the names of the books gave me food for thought. Sex and its nature might well attract doctors and biologists; but what was surprising and difficult of explanation was the fact that sex–woman, that is to say–also attracts agreeable essayists, light-fingered novelists, young men who have taken the M.A. degree; men who have taken no degree; men who have no apparent qualification save that they are not women. It was a most strange phenomenon; and apparently one confined to the male sex. Women do not write books about men–a fact that I could not help welcoming with relief, for if I had first to read all that men have written about women, then all that women have written about men, the aloe that flowers once in a hundred years would flower twice before I could set pen to paper.

Why are women, judging from this catalogue, so much more interesting to men than men are to women? A very curious fact it seemed, and my mind wandered to picture the lives of men who spend their time in writing books about women; whether they were old or young, married or unmarried, red-nosed or hump-backed.

 She keeps on reading and finds out that men’s view of women are very different and finds them useless : And if I could not grasp the truth about women in the past, why bother about W. in the future? It seemed pure waste of time to consult all those gentlemen who specialize in woman and her effect on whatever it may be.

But while I pondered I had unconsciously, in my desperation, been drawing a picture where I should have been writing a conclusion. I had been drawing a face, a figure. It was the face and the figure of Professor von X engaged in writing his monumental work entitled THE MENTAL, MORAL, AND PHYSICAL INFERIORITY OF THE FEMALE SEX. …All that I had retrieved from that morning’s work had been the one fact of anger. The professors–I lumped them together thus–were angry. But why, I asked myself, having returned the books.

It seemed absurd, I thought, that a man with all this power should be angry. Or is anger, I wondered, somehow, the familiar, the attendant sprite on power? Rich people, for example, are often angry because they suspect that the poor want to seize their wealth. Possibly they were not ‘angry’ at all; often, indeed, they were admiring, devoted, exemplary in the relations of private life. Possibly when the professor insisted a little too emphatically upon the inferiority of women, he was concerned not with their inferiority, but with his own superiority.

Perhaps now it would be better to give up seeking for the truth, and receiving on one’s head an avalanche of opinion hot as lava, discoloured as dish-water. It would be better to draw the curtains; to shut out distractions; to light the lamp; to narrow the enquiry and to ask the historian, who records not opinions but facts, to describe under what conditions women lived, not throughout the ages, but in England, say, in the time of Elizabeth.

I went, therefore, to the shelf where the histories stand and took down one of the latest, Professor Trevelyan’s HISTORY OF ENGLAND. Once more I looked up Women, found ‘position of’ and turned to the pages indicated. ‘Wife-beating’, I read, ‘was a recognized right of man, and was practised without shame by high as well as low…Similarly,’ the historian goes on, ‘the daughter who refused to marry the gentleman of her parents’ choice was liable to be locked up, beaten and flung about the room, without any shock being inflicted on public opinion. ‘ That was about 1470, soon after Chaucer’s time. The next reference to the position of women is some two hundred years later. ‘It was still the exception for women of the upper and middle class to choose their own husbands, and when the husband had been assigned, he was lord and master. Yet even so,’ Professor Trevelyan concludes, ‘neither Shakespeare’s women nor those of authentic seventeenth-century memoirs seem wanting in personality and character.’

Indeed, if woman had no existence save in the fiction written by men, one would imagine her a person of the utmost importance; very various; heroic and mean; splendid and sordid; infinitely beautiful and hideous in the extreme; as great as a man, some think even greater [1*]. But this is woman in fiction. In fact, as Professor Trevelyan points out, she was locked up, beaten and flung about the room.

A very queer, composite being thus emerges. Imaginatively she is of the highest importance; practically she is completely insignificant. She pervades poetry from cover to cover; she is all but absent from history. She dominates the lives of kings and conquerors in fiction; in fact she was the slave of any boy whose parents forced a ring upon her finger. Some of the most inspired words, some of the most profound thoughts in literature fall from her lips; in real life she could hardly read, could scarcely spell, and was the property of her husband.

Here am I asking why women did not write poetry in the Elizabethan age, and I am not sure how they were educated; whether they were taught to write; whether they had sitting-rooms to themselves; how many women had children before they were twenty-one; what, in short, they did from eight in the morning till eight at night. They had no money evidently; according to Professor Trevelyan they were married whether they liked it or not before they were out of the nursery, at fifteen or sixteen very likely. It would have been extremely odd, even upon this showing, had one of them suddenly written the plays of Shakespeare, I concluded, and I thought of that old gentleman, who is dead now, but was a bishop, I think, who declared that it was impossible for any woman, past, present, or to come, to have the genius of Shakespeare.

Here in the essay Woolf tells a fiction story about Judith, Shakespears sister, who has the same talent as he but no chances. Judith marries an actor, has a child and commits suicide.

That, more or less, is how the story would run, I think, if a woman in Shakespeare’s day had had Shakespeare’s genius. But for my part, I agree with the deceased bishop, if such he was–it is unthinkable that any woman in Shakespeare’s day should have had Shakespeare’s genius. For genius like Shakespeare’s is not born among labouring, uneducated, servile people. It is not born to-day among the working classes. How, then, could it have been born among women whose work began, according to Professor Trevelyan, almost before they were out of the nursery, who were forced to it by their parents and held to it by all the power of law and custom?

And one gathers from this enormous modern literature of confession and self-analysis that to write a work of genius is almost always a feat of prodigious difficulty. Everything is against the likelihood that it will come from the writer’s mind whole and entire. Generally material circumstances are against it. People will interrupt; money must be made; health will break down. Further is the world’s notorious indifference. It does not ask people to write poems and novels and histories; it does not need them. Naturally, it will not pay for what it does not want. And so the writer, Keats, Flaubert, Carlyle, suffers, especially in the creative years of youth, every form of distraction and discouragement. A curse, a cry of agony, rises from those books of analysis and confession. ‘Mighty poets in their misery dead’–that is the burden of their song.

But for women, I thought, looking at the empty shelves, these difficulties were infinitely more formidable. In the first place, to have a room of her own, let alone a quiet room or a sound-proof room, was out of the question, unless her parents were exceptionally rich or very noble, even up to the beginning of the nineteenth century. Since her pin money, which depended on the goodwill of her father, was only enough to keep her clothed, she was debarred from such alleviations as came even to Keats or Tennyson or Carlyle, all poor men, from a walking tour, a little journey to France, from the separate lodging which, even if it were miserable enough, sheltered them from the claims and tyrannies of their families.

Hundreds of women began as the eighteenth century drew on to add to their pin money, or to come to the rescue of their families by making translations or writing the innumerable bad novels which have ceased to be recorded even in text-books. The extreme activity of mind which showed itself in the later eighteenth century among women–the talking, and the meeting, the writing of essays on Shakespeare, the translating of the classics–was founded on the solid fact that women could make money by writing. Thus, towards the end of the eighteenth century a change came about which, if I were rewriting history, I should describe more fully and think of greater importance than the Crusades or the Wars of the Roses. The middle-class woman began to write. For if PRIDE AND PREJUDICE matters, and MIDDLEMARCH and VILLETTE and WUTHERING HEIGHTS matter, then it matters far more than I can prove in an hour’s discourse that women generally took to writing. Without those forerunners, Jane Austen and the Brontës and George Eliot could no more have written than Shakespeare could have written without Marlowe, or Marlowe without Chaucer, or Chaucer without those forgotten poets who paved the ways and tamed the natural savagery of the tongue. For masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.

Here, then, one had reached the early nineteenth century. And here, for the first time, I found several shelves given up entirely to the works of women.

We must accept the fact that all those good novels, VILLETTE, EMMA, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, MIDDLEMARCH, were written by women without more experience of life than could enter the house of a respectable clergyman; written too in the common sitting-room of that respectable house and by women so poor that they could not afford to buy more than a few quires of paper at a time.

But one could perhaps go a little deeper into the question of novel-writing and the effect of sex upon the novelist. If one shuts one’s eyes and thinks of the novel as a whole, it would seem to be a creation owning a certain looking-glass likeness to life…. And since a novel has this correspondence to real life, its values are to some extent those of real life. But it is obvious that the values of women differ very often from the values which have been made by the other sex; naturally, this is so. Yet it is the masculine values that prevail. Speaking crudely, football and sport are ‘important’; the worship of fashion, the buying of clothes ‘trivial’. And these values are inevitably transferred from life to fiction. This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing-room. A scene in a battle-field is more important than a scene in a shop–everywhere and much more subtly the difference of value persists. The whole structure, therefore, of the early nineteenth-century novel was raised, if one was a woman, by a mind which was slightly pulled from the straight, and made to alter its clear vision in deference to external authority. One has only to skim those old forgotten novels and listen to the tone of voice in which they are written to divine that the writer was meeting criticism; She was admitting that she was ‘only a woman’, or protesting that she was ‘as good as a man’. She was thinking of something other than the thing itself. She had altered her values in deference to the opinion of others.

But how impossible it must have been for them not to budge either to the right or to the left. What genius, what integrity it must have required in face of all that criticism, in the midst of that purely patriarchal society, to hold fast to the thing as they saw it without shrinking. Only Jane Austen did it and Emily Brontë. It is another feather, perhaps the finest, in their caps. They wrote as women write, not as men write. Of all the thousand women who wrote novels then, they alone entirely ignored the perpetual admonitions of the eternal pedagogue–write this, think that.

I had come at last, in the course of this rambling, to the shelves which hold books by the living; by women and by men; for there are almost as many books written by women now as by men.

It is far more important at the moment to know how much money women had and how many rooms than to theorize about their capacities–even if the time had come I do not believe that gifts, whether of mind or character, can be weighed like sugar and butter.. All this pitting of sex against sex, of quality against quality; all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority, belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are ‘sides’, and it is necessary for one side to beat another side. As people mature they cease to believe in sides. So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery, and the sacrifice of wealth and chastity which used to be said to be the greatest of human disasters, a mere flea-bite in comparison.

Next I think that you may object that in all this I have made too much of the importance of material things. Intellectual freedom depends upon material things. Poetry depends upon intellectual freedom. And women have always been poor, not for two hundred years merely, but from the beginning of time. Women have had less intellectual freedom than the sons of Athenian slaves. That is why I have laid so much stress on money and a room of one’s own. However, thanks to the toils of those obscure women in the past, of whom I wish we knew more, thanks, curiously enough to two wars, the Crimean which let Florence Nightingale out of her drawing-room, and the European War which opened the doors to the average woman some sixty years later, these evils are in the way to be bettered.

But when I look back through these notes and criticize my own train of thought as I made them, I find that my motives were not altogether selfish. There runs through these comments and discursions the conviction–or is it the instinct?–that good books are desirable and that good writers, even if they show every variety of human depravity, are still good human beings. Thus when I ask you to write more books I am urging you to do what will be for your good and for the good of the world at large.

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