Hello, hello, and welcome to the middle of the week, dear readers. If you are feeling a little run down or if Friday is feeling a bit too far away, I encourage you to check out Writer’s Quote Wednesday, a weekly event hosted by Colleen of Silver Threading and Ronovan of Ronovan Writes.
For my contribution this week, I have chosen a quote from the infamous American poet and novelist, Sylvia Plath.
Plath was born on October 27, 1932, in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Her mother, Aurelia Schober Plath was a second-generation American of Austrian descent, and her father, Otto Plath, was from Grabow, Germany. Plath’s father was an entomologist and a professor of biology at Boston University who authored a book about bumblebees.
Known primarily for her poetry, Plath also wrote a semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The book’s protagonist, Esther Greenwood, is a bright, ambitious student at Smith College who begins to experience a mental breakdown while interning for a fashion magazine in New York. The plot parallels Plath’s experience interning at Mademoiselle magazine and subsequent mental breakdown and suicide attempt.
Despite her remarkable artistic, academic, and social success at Smith, Plath suffered from severe depression and underwent a period of psychiatric hospitalization. She graduated from Smith with highest honors in 1955 and went on to Newnham College, Cambridge, in England, on a Fulbright fellowship. Here she met and married the English poet Ted Hughes in 1956. For the following two years, she was an instructor in English at Smith College.
In 1960, shortly after Plath and Hughes returned to England from America, her first collection of poems appeared as The Colossus. She also gave birth to a daughter, Frieda Rebecca. Hughes’ and Plath’s son, Nicholas Farrar, was born in 1962.
Plath took her own life on the morning of February 11, 1963. Leaving out bread and milk, she completely sealed the rooms between herself and her sleeping children with “wet towels and cloths.” Plath then placed her head in the oven while the gas was turned on.
“I needed experience. How could I write about life when I’d never had a love affair or a baby or even seen anybody die?”
— Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
A little while ago I signed up to be matched with an Awl Pal through The Awl‘s newsletter. An Awl Pal is basically a pen pal with whom I would email back and forth getting to know a little about them and telling them little bits about myself. We’ve only written back and forth a few times, but it has been fun to hear about the life of someone who lives in a different place and works a different sort of job than I do.
Recently I asked him why he signed up, and he replied that it sounded Romantic and that he is also just plain nosy. Good answer. He asked me in return and in a moment of “thinking I knew my answer until I wrote it down and realized it was something else entirely” I learned that I did it because I wanted to do something new. I did it because nothing new has happened to me in a very long time, and I am desperate for something new.
I have loved the same girl for 14 years, I have worked the same job for over 10, and I have live in the same city of almost my entire life. A lot has happened in my life, but none of it has been very recent.
I wanted this. I wanted the slow and steady, the “same shit, different day’, and the comfort of knowing what was going to happen in every moment of my life. I have too much anxiety, I am too sensitive and too full of fear, to live in a way that at all feels like chaos. I chose this life, and I still want it too, but lately I have wondered if I might have gone too far to the safe side. There might be a way to add an element of surprise and novelty here and there. Not too much but just a little?
I think I may need some new experiences if I want to be a better observer, thinker, and writer.
I get the feeling my mind has grown dusty and stuffy. I get the feeling ideas are lurking around my mind that need to be shaken up and out. I wonder if a few new experiences might light up some neglected parts of my mind. I wonder if seeing something new, talking to someone new, or even just sitting in a new place to do the same things I always do might connect a concept or two and unlock a little potential in me.
I don’t doubt I could write something good the way that I am now. I just think a little push and pull, and little stimulation, and a little excitement, could motivate me, inspire me, and light a good fire under my ass.
No harm in that, right?
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Biographical information via Wikipedia and Goodreads
Featured image via Unsplash