Until I had not read Sylvia Plath’s work, I had no idea that poetic thoughts could be realistic too. I had first met her in the year 2014. I was staying at my cousin’s place and she happened to have a copy of “The Bell Jar” — Plath’s semi-autobiographical piece of fiction. When I say I met her, it is not just a figure of speech. Reading her work is akin to meeting her in person.
2014 had been a tough year for me. I was being introduced to the sound that shattering dreams make. Those who are familiar with it would know how horrifying it is. While those, who like me have grown accustomed to it, might even agree that once you get used to it, this sound actually grows on to you. You find it to be a fine composition. In fact, it’s my favorite genre of music now and I have Sylvia to thank for it too.
I found out that reading her books was like watching pain turn into a physical entity — something that you can touch, feel, and watch as it shrieks with pain. You sense the hair on your hand standing on end, one follicle after another, as you read one word after another. Thus, to say the least, “The Bell Jar” had had quite an effect on me. Yet, 3 years later, I was only left with just a minuscule portion of its original enormity — just a minute sensation and not the whole torture of being torn apart from limb to limb.
As a result, I, rather unwittingly opened the copy of “The Journals of Sylvia Plath” that my evil friends had presented to me as a gift.
The rest, as they say, was history and it was quite full of tortures too. I have not even read one fourth of this insanely enormous book. Yet, ever since I have started it, each night, I end up soaking my pillows with a storm of tears.
How an 18-year-old-girl, that also dead for quite a long time, can have this kind of effect on you is nothing if not a miracle of literature. I believe it to be the power of words that are so intricately merged with emotions that telling one apart from the other becomes quite impossible.
This article is, but my tiny effort, to pay homage to a tortured soul who helped me accept my sorrows and my pains as my own.
P.S: If you are not already a fan of hers, here is an excerpt from the book to make you thirst for more (why should I suffer alone):
“Why the hell are we conditioned into the smooth strawberry-and-cream Mother-Goose-world, Alice-in-Wonderland fable, only to be broken on the wheel as we grow older and become aware of ourselves as individuals with a dull responsibility in life?”
“to learn that while you dream and believe in Utopia, you will scratch & scrabble for your daily bread in your home town and be damn glad if there’s butter on it”
“to know that millions of others are unhappy and that life is a gentleman’s agreement to grin and paint your face gay so others will feel they are silly to be unhappy, and try to catch the contagion of joy, while inside so many are dying of bitterness and unfulfillment…”