The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘sylvia plath’

Sylvia Plath’s “Nick and the Candlestick”

November 21, 2013 | by

Plath-Hughes-Portrait-Paris-Review

Collage via Flickr.

I am a miner. The light burns blue.
Waxy stalactites
Drip and thicken, tears

I am writing this while pregnant with my first son, just as Sylvia Plath was when she wrote “Nick and the Candlestick” in 1962.

I wanted him: he was no surprise or trouble at all; he was passion and biology. But I am not happy. No one in smiley U.S.A. is supposed to say this at the news of a baby. An expectant mother is supposed to be ecstatic, full of promise and life. It is true, I marvel; the last thing I ever expected to be good at was creating a small person, that my body could nourish him both inside itself and within the world. He’s evidence that something inside me might work, even if other, less visible things do not.

Remembering, even in sleep,
Your crossed position.
The blood blooms clean

Before him, I would read Plath quotes from one of those ubiquitous Twitter feeds, feel recognition—and feel like a cliché. I do genuinely love her work, but it’s so expected, so reductive—even if, with him, it feels newly vital for me. We all know the narrative: marry a handsome, destructive man, go from one to two, three then four, and then kill yourself at thirty. Like so many girl-readers, I worshipped her and selfishly romanticized the tragedy. As a young woman, Plath sought the whirl and illusion of enchanted, swift New York, painfully unprepared for adulthood, and like so many others, I recognized all those standard youthful Manhattan dreams, darker when you feel everything twenty-fold, when you’re unsure of having any talent or worth, paralyzed by sensitivity, maybe a little weak, easy to dismantle. A cliché, yes, but the mythology, and the work, remain captivating and solid. As a writer and a reader and a human being with dark tendencies, I have great empathy for everything Plath. There is a reason she has endured. We may all fail miserably at love, family, and living, but we can try to be brave, especially in our work. As Plath says of her own womb, my stomach was always crawling with white newts and calcification, a gut that betrayed me, even when I tried to convince it of happy otherwise. Read More »

2 COMMENTS

Mark Twain Designed His Own Notebooks, and Other News

August 20, 2013 | by

Mark-Twain-Notebook-2

  • Twain’s notebooks, Plath’s pens, and other preferred writing paraphernalia of famous authors.
  • Via the minds at McSweeney’s, an invaluable Field Guide to Uncommon Punctuation.
  • An elaborate, book-themed proposal involving a custom children’s book, a library, and a lot of planning.
  • The Today Show has reanimated its book club, and kicked off with The Bone Season, by twenty-one-year-old Samantha Shannon. (“The next Rowling?” asks Today, unfortunately.)
  •  

    3 COMMENTS

    Close Reading, and Other News

    April 19, 2013 | by

    slide_292825_2354668_free

  • A sly French literacy campaign wins international plaudits. (Look again: that’s it right there!)
  • Writers mobilize to save Venice’s bookshops.
  • Sadly, Portland’s Murder by the Book is meeting an unkinder fate.
  • “When she went to New York [from Boston], she wasn’t thinking about the work she was going to do—she was thinking about the clothes she was going to wear.” Sylvia Plath’s month at Mademoiselle, an experience that would figure in The Bell Jar.
  • Well, this was clearly never going to bother anyone: “10 Talented Female Authors I Wouldn’t Kick Out of Bed for Writing About Crackers.” (He has a type.)
  •  

    NO COMMENTS

    Dear Enemy

    February 11, 2013 | by

    sylvia

     

    “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ―Sylvia Plath

    4 COMMENTS

    “A Reverse Fahrenheit 451,” and Other News

    February 11, 2013 | by

    f451

     

     

    NO COMMENTS

    A Week in Culture: Carlene Bauer, Writer

    February 5, 2013 | by

    -2DAY ONE

    Tonight I went to my first Spanish class at Idlewild on Nineteenth Street. 7:30 to 9 P.M.. When I signed up for this class in November, shortly after I came back from spending a few weeks in Barcelona, I was flush with the joy of recent travel, and intent on injecting some novelty, intellectual and otherwise, into my life. I had an idea that I might try to make it back to Spain at the end of this year, and if that happened, I'd like to be able to do more than buy a few peaches without tripping over my tongue, or wanting to revert to French, the only other foreign language I know. And if that never happened, I would at least be doing something to forestall dementia. But as the intervening weeks, growing colder and darker, put more and more distance between me and that trip—I dreamed that, didn’t I?—I started to wonder why I’d done such a thing. It seemed as unnecessary and out of character as signing up for ten colonics through Groupon. But when, after the fifteen of us had gathered in a circle in the back of the store, and the teacher welcomed us in Spanish, something in me quickened in response to hearing the language. Maybe it was just sound as souvenir, but some sleeping dog in me perked up. Something similar had happened back in Barcelona, while standing in the La Central bookstore, looking at all the books I wanted to read but could not, feeling a strange urgency to get the key that would unlock what lay between those covers, a strange feeling that this was a language I needed to know deeper. Read More »

    3 COMMENTS