Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sylvia Plath

sylvia_plath



My obsession with Sylvia Plath started my freshman year of high school. I remember reading her poem, "Mirror" in a textbook in English class. I read it over and over again... I found it in the back of the book and couldn't wait to discuss it as a class.
For some reason that never happened though so instead I searched for more of her work on the internet and checked out a few library books on her, too.


I was instantly hooked. Her journals are my favorite. She wrote with such honesty and expressed things I felt/feel on a daily basis but just can't seem to put into words myself.



Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

I had quite the obsession with her for a very long time. I found a lot of recordings of her reading her poetry on the internet over the years and have them all on a disk. My friend Brian and I used to listen to them and drive around by the lake at night when we were in high school. We still know a couple of them by heart. It's always funny when he starts reciting them while trying to mock her very low, somewhat creepy voice and accent.

Here's a recording of her reciting "Lady Lazarus" which is my favorite poem of hers:


Sylvia Plath.

Sylvia Plath

Infatuation

Sylvia Plath

Let's face it

She may be a bit depressing to read at times, but when you're feeling the way she felt when she was writing, it hits you hard and suddenly you feel everything you were questioning has been answered in this very strange, unexplainable way.
Or, that's how I feel anyway. No matter how sad the context, her writing always makes me feel better. Maybe it's that sense of not feeling so alone. Knowing you aren't crazy for feeling sad sometimes, or most of the time. Knowing it's how a lot of people feel, they just don't talk about it.
But, she talked about it. And that's why I love her. She never hid behind the fake happiness mask we all wear sometimes. She was brutally honest with herself and with her writing, and I think that's why so many people can relate to her and admire her, even after her suicide.

Sylvia Plath




Sylvia Plath


Remember, remember.

A few years ago, I decided to get a tattoo dedicated to her. One of my favorite quotes of hers is from The Bell Jar:



"I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am, I am, I am."

i am. i am. i am.

There really isn't a reason I decided to keep the "i" lowercase other than the fact that I just don't like capital letters. Plus I wanted it to look like it was from a typewriter, and I like how the lowercase i looks on a typewriter compared to the uppercase I.
My blog used to be all lowercase until Andrew's brother, Alex kept razzing me about it. I thought about it though and figured he was probably right. People take capitalization seriously and I guess it makes you look smarter and perhaps it's neater, but personally I love lowercase and would write in it all the time if it were up to me!

Anyway, it's a simple reminder to have more confidence in myself and to be sure of myself more often. I'm so very shy and have been my whole life. This was a small step in moving forward and trying to get over that hump of self doubt I always seem to be struggling with. In a lot of ways, i definitely think it has helped.
Funny how a statement so small can mean something so huge.

10 comments:

  1. I have never read her journals, but read the Bell Jar during high school and loved it. Last year I took a class on 1960's literature, and we read the book for that class, and I loved it even more.

    I love your tattoo. Those two small words have such power together.

    -Amanda K.

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  2. I have never really read anything by Sylvia Plath but after this post I want to. I agree that she can come off very sad or depressing but no matter what stage in life you are they resonate with you because we have all probably been there at one point or another.

    I love your tattoo! I also love lowercase and would write in it only but alas it does make me seem more put together to punctuate properly. lol

    xoxohannah
    a cup of subtle tea

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  3. I adore this entire post! She speaks to me too and I love all of the quotes and excerpts you shared. And that tattoo! Not sure I've liked one better.

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  4. This post is incredible! "No matter how sad the context, her writing always makes me feel better. Maybe it's that sense of not feeling so alone. Knowing you aren't crazy for feeling sad sometimes, or most of the time. Knowing it's how a lot of people feel, they just don't talk about it. But, she talked about it. And that's why I love her. She never hid behind the fake happiness mask we all wear sometimes. She was brutally honest with herself and with her writing, and I think that's why so many people can relate to her and admire her, even after her suicide." Amen to that. My copy of her Unabridged Journals & the Bell Jar are both in pieces; bent pages all scribbled over and highlighted. I don't know many people who love/appreciate Sylvia's work like I do, so this post is super refreshing. Thank you. PS your tattoo is beautiful!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Jessica! I love finding fellow Sylvia lovers. :)

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  5. This is such a beautiful post! She is so talented!!
    I have always wanted one but never known what to get !
    Anna

    http://opshopaholic.blogspot.co.nz

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  6. i love sylvia and her words, and i loved your words too, as they made me cry...cry not of sadness but of happiness in seeing that someone else can feel what she felt, and i can feel what you feel when you write of her words as well.

    i am...grateful for your post

    i thank you so much...in lowercase...

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    1. Thank you, stranger. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Sylvia is amazing and will live on in all who admire her work as much as we do. <3

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  7. Like you, I discovered Plath back in high school. It was also the poem "Mirror," which did me in. There was a time when I read her poems every night, just wanting to find the words I couldn't say myself. I think you're right. The beauty of Plath lies in how she manages to tap into the soul's darkest nook.

    Anyway, I'm glad I found your blog. :)

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  8. Amanda, I enjoyed reading this so much. You're so right about her voice. After hearing that recording of Lady Lazarus for the first time a few months ago (when I was reading Bell Jar) it really changed the way I read her poems. So deep and perceptive.

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