years when pleasing everyone else fades in significance as we realize the impossibility of the task.
Virginia Woolf watched her mythical novelist:
I saw, but hoped that she did not see, the bishops and the deans, the doctors and the professors, the patriarchs and the pedagogues all at her shouting warning and advice. You can't do this and you shan't do that! Fellows and scholars only allowed on the grass! Ladies not permitted without a letter of introduction! . . . So they kept at her like the crowd at a fence on the race-course. . . . If you stop to curse, you are lost, I said to her; equally, if you stop to laugh. . . . Think only of the jump, I implored her, as if I had put the whole of my money on her back; and she went over it like a bird. But there was another fence beyond that and a fence beyond that. Whether she had the staying power I was doubtful, for the clapping and the crying were fraying to the nerves. But she did her best.34