Last Train To Plathsville

Oh dear.  This is the danger of a daily blog; the confessional aspect leads to texts and emails from concerned loved ones.  Surely everyone is allowed an off-day?  It couldn’t have caused too much concern, there was a Kim Kardashian joke, an “A-Team” reference, some fabulous shots of Audrey Hepburn, it was hardly Sylvia Plath‘s suicidal precursor “The Bell Jar“.


Plath, 30, famously left her two small children with buttered bread and then popped into the kitchen to stick her head in the oven.  “The Bell Jar”, and her other books of poetry had a small following, but her fame blossomed after her suicide.  (Because isn’t that always the way?)  She was being swallowed into deep waters of madness, where I was dipping my toes in pools of discouragement.  Plath gave up; and I’m not giving in–sometimes frustration can feel claustrophobic, and all one can do is find an appropriate outlet to let that out instead of holding it in.


After writing the blog, I walked down to the nearby yoga studio, and had a lovely class. Once home I curled up with some mac-and-cheese and ‘Eat, Pray, Love‘ on NETFLIX. Ben came home early, and watched the film with me, cracking the occasional snide remark but not judging me for taking this movie a bit too seriously, or for referring to Javier Bardem as “hunky”.

javier bardem

Settled by a few creature comforts, I was able to just relax and not worry so god-damned much.  What can I say? I have a big, bruisable heart and I feel and want too much.  I think Sylvia Plath says it best:

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.”

I hear that girlfriend, but what are we meant to do with these limitations?  My friend Robin says of some actors, that it is the audition where the really satisfying work is done.  That, even if the part is not won, that you performed within every inch of your capacity, and are still a success.  As it is with writing, whether there is a flush of readers or publishers, that the work is being done faithfully and with great joy.  And so I will never be a sailor, doctor, astronaut–or even a professional writer, and I will probably never get to all the places I wish to see; but what is there to do with this moment, right now…when few things are in your favor.  Focus on the things that matter most; feel grateful for those few pebbles in your pocket, and keep moving forward into this continuous present state.  sitting plath

Images Courtesy of Google

3 thoughts on “Last Train To Plathsville

  1. Crud, why can’t we women look so good with bags under the eyes?! Off the tangent now:
    So funny. You speak (and quote) a good portion of a recent post of mine where I mention Plath. The thing is, she said she burst to experience all the hues of living…but seemed to dwell on the darker ones in her writing and thinking. I know you were feeling on the bum side writing this one, but I do like your voice “on paper.”

  2. I love your reflections here (as well as the photos).

    I was drawn here while doing a tag search for “Sylvia Plath” posts.

    I am currently reading Plath’s journals in preparation for a writing project and I’m hoping to foster some dialogue about Plath’s life and work. I did a brief post on her early perspectives here –

    I would love for you to drop by and join the conversation.

    Keep up the good blogging.

  3. Plath I think of as a thinking heart opened too wide to life: Who would not drown in such an unmediated inpouring? Rilke’s Orpheus I think is the god behind this impulse, the one who obeys only when they exceed. How many manic compulsive writers burn up and out like supernovae? To have a life of a writer, though, one that lasts, one has to know when to shut the book. Ted Hughes certainly dowsed some dark wild waters, but he had the psychological means to temper the conduit. He lived to write for a long, long time. No one can write and not scratch places where Plath still haunts (“The Moon and the Yew Tree” is forever in my blueblack ear), but I’ll never sacrifice love for written truths. Keeps me happy — if anonymous …

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