Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Bell Jar

Dear Sylvia,

I know you don't know me, and I doubt that you would have ever wanted to. Had we lived in the same time I doubt our paths would have ever crossed save for perhaps a book reading where you would have found me standing in the back of the room too afraid to come forward. I would have been too meek to raise a hand to ask a question for fear my words would simply drivel aimlessly in your direction with nary an ounce of clarity whatsoever. So instead, I would just stand there and listen intently as you lifted each word from your book like a spec of dust to blow into the crowd. And even though I would be standing there mute, I would have much on my mind. Like, why did you leave us so soon? Well, technically I feel I sorta know why you did it. But it still pains me nonetheless.

The world is sometimes a strange space to occupy and I'm sure it was difficult, unbearable even, to have a mind such as yours be surrounded by those that didn't have the same level of intellect. It must have been very difficult for you I'm sure.

I started reading The Bell Jar last night and will surely have it finished by this evening. While reading I have decided to read The Bell Jar on the third weekend of every month and then, hello? Crazy right? I snapped out of it and have snapped back to reality.

You should know this about me. Some years back I had the same reaction to J.D. Salinger's, The Catcher in the Rye and read it every summer for five years. It's now been 5 years since I last read it and I always feel like I've given up on Holden, which I haven't. You two would have made fine pen pals I do believe. That is, if Holden weren't fictional. Though you might as well be fictional too when you really think about it. You're not really here nor there so you might as well be a protagonist in a novel and then be done with it. All in all, reading The Bell Jar every month would be difficult -- even you would understand that. Right?

In any event, you probably wouldn't like today no more than you liked your own era. The world would not have been kind to you and that's for damn sure. Today, news is no longer a fleeting moment but rather a drawn out dramatic saga that continues for eons. You would have surely had reason to stick your head in the oven during this time I must confess. Though I say this while myself being no more than a bobble head, not unlike the masses, wobbling toward any direction where there might be fast flickers of light bouncing off a rectangular screen set atop a fireplace mantle. No Sylvia, this would not have been the life for you and maybe because you're so broad-minded, not myopic like me, you saw where the world was going and wanted none of it.

Though what you probably didn't know, or knew, but didn't want to own up to it is this: we're all the same. In the end we are all the same. Like pebbles on a beach. They're pretty, smooth, unique in their own pebble sort of way, but when you throw one into the Mylar sheath of a pond, they skip deliberately neath the surface and back up again. Some pebbles are better at it than others, but in the end they all just fall to the bottom in precisely the same way as all the others before them. I know sometimes the world puts on you all sorts of pressures that make you feel inferior or far too superior for your own good but truly isn't a pebble just a rock. I mean really. Pebble is just a euphemism. Poet, writer, journalist are mere titles all shiny and smooth, but that doesn't speak to who you really were. In the end you should have owned up to this fact. You should have given equal weight to the thought of what could have been. You are a rock and therefore you should have stood your ground. And yet again, I know the weight of the world washed over you and it was too much to bear. Hell, the Titanic was taken down so why not you. I understand. I do. Its cool.

Well, I am off for a weeks holiday. Taking the girls to the beach to build sand castles and run in the ocean surf. While there, I'll throw a few pebbles in the ocean and say your name. Sylvia Plath. Sylvia Plath. Sylvia Plath. I'm sure you won't hear me, but if ever there was a wrinkle in time. . .


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