Saturday, July 26, 2008

There is nothing new under the sun

The writer of Ecclesiastes (1:10) said that first, but having just finished reading Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, I must share this quote from the biographical notes. Plath wrote this about her book of poetry that was repeatedly submitted and rejected under ever-changing titles:

"Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing, which remark I guess shows I still don't have a pure motive (O it's-such-fun-I-just-can't-stop-who-cares-if-it's-published-or-read) about writing…I still want to see it finally ritualized in print."

Sigh. Doesn't that ring a bell for all of you aspiring writers out there?

If you haven't read Plath's book which is based on her own life and struggles with severe depression, I recommend it to writers, teachers, and high school students. Her language choices excel and her use of similes is stellar. "I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo" she writes, describing her life in New York City. Her vivid description of her inner turmoil gives the reader a front row seat into mental illness during a time (the 1950's) when electroconvulsiveshock treatment had become widespread.

Plath's main character's decisions to lose her virginity as well as her suicide attempts are graphic and therefore this might not be a book for everyone.

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1 comment:

WordWrangler said...

I remember reading Plath in High School. I remember thinking how sad she seemed. As an adult, I can see that she was very transparent in her writing which brought an authenticity to her work.

I don't know if I'll go back and read her work or not, but I appreciate the reminder!

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