An Ode to Sylvia & A Bunch of Other Stuff!

Somewhere in this house, I believe I still have a copy of Sylvia Plath’s Journals. I’m not up to the task of finding it right now, because I just have way too many books.  And once I start going through all my bookshelves, then that’s it. I get pulled in for hours.

However. Many years ago — 30 or so — I read Sylvia Plath’s Journals (that’s Sylvia, pictured up there, at the time documented in her journals). I recall vividly one entry where she was newly married and really happy. It was summertime and a heatwave had broken and the weather had gotten so cool that she had to put on a sweater. And she wrote so touchingly about the beauty of wearing a sweater in cool weather.  Unexpected changes, mid-season.

Today, it has actually gotten so cool that I’m wearing my flannel robe over my summer PJs! And so I’m thinking about “sweater weather” and of Sylvia Plath, and the simple beauty that lives eternally through her, in spite of what she’d sadly hoped to obliterate about herself.

And on a very different note…

From the window near my desk right now, I can see down into the stretch of yard between my house and the neighbor’s house.  The guy there (the drummer) is out there right this minute, mowing the grass. (This is a process that takes maybe 8 minutes because he has a tiny yard — large house but a tiny yard. ) Anyway, I see that since yesterday morning, he has completely shaved his head and shaved off all his facial hair, of which he had plenty.

Isn’t it weird? It makes me wonder what it was about yesterday that made him decide to do that. I wonder if he’d been planning it for several days, or if it was just a whim?

Well, a couple of photos finally got into my Instagram feed early this morning from the concerts going on in Melbourne this weekend with Nick Cave & Warren Ellis. One was from Susie Cave, so that was sort of an “official” photo, but there was another one from the audience from Friday night, at the end of the concert, and then someone else posting that it was “powerful  & intense,” and then someone else posted saying it was a “healing experience” (no doubt!) — but neither of those people posted photos from the actual show.

It’s probably one of those things where people aren’t allowed to be documenting the concert with their phones, because there’s just been a huge dearth of anything coming out of Melbourne. (A “huge” dearth is kind of an interesting concept, isn’t it?) (Or perhaps people in Melbourne simply don’t own cell phones. That’s probably the more reasonable explanation…)

I also noticed that Sandra Caldwell, the actress I write the theater projects with/for in NYC, was a busy bee on Instagram up in Toronto yesterday, texting with someone that I don’t know, but she posted quite a few really stunning photos of herself from about 30 years ago.  Mostly she was wearing not much of anything at all in the way of clothing!! (She’s very good friends with my ex-husband, Wayne, and so she came to our wedding back in 1993 and she was, by far and away, the most stunning woman there, even though she was wearing clothes.)

When Sandra and I first met — when I was first engaged to Wayne, who was a professional actor back then — she was also engaged to be married and she gave me this really stunning ring. She didn’t want to just get rid of the ring because some important guy gave it to her but she didn’t feel it was appropriate to keep it since she was getting married to someone else. So she gave the ring to me.

The ring is not real, it’s Cubic Zirconia, but it looks like a real diamond ring — it has about 6 “diamonds” on it, in a gold setting. I rarely wear it because it’s so pretty and I don’t want to get it all fucked up, but when I do wear it, everyone thinks it’s real and their eyes pop out. I never dreamed back when she & I first met, that our relationship would be so instrumental for me as a writer. I think it’s kind of funny that, upon meeting me, she gave me a diamond ring! (You know, like we got engaged to a future destiny or something.)

I’m actually not very big on jewelry, and what jewelry I do wear is almost always sterling silver. I’m not sure why I like silver so much, but I have a ton of it. I also love pearls.  I have some beautiful pearls that I inherited. But almost all of my gold and diamonds (including my diamond engagement ring from Tiffany’s — Wayne & I actually got engaged inside Tiffany’s, in NYC, back in the fall of 1992; yes, the self-same Tiffany’s of Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at…” fame); I had to sell all of my valuable jewelry when my “dearly beloved” from about 12 years ago, gambled away my life savings (see some earlier post somewhere that details all that).

Oddly enough, the one ring I didn’t sell, which is not that valuable but it is gold and does have chips of diamonds and rubies on it — that one I didn’t sell because (unlike a fucking diamond ring from Tiffany’s for god’s sake!!) it holds sentimental value for me. It really, really does. And who gave it to me? The same fucking guy who gambled my world away…

Ah well. That’s just so me. (And, yes, in case you were going to point it out — I have had my head examined, thank you very much!) (And it didn’t reveal anything I didn’t already know.)

All righty!! My Internet has gone in and out all morning, so I’m going to post this right now, while I seem to actually have a connection. And I will get to work on the play. Have a really great Saturday, wherever you are in the world!! (Or I hope it was a good one, if it’s almost over!)

Thanks for visiting. And I leave you with the song I was actually listening to this morning, although I have no idea why it even came to me. I hadn’t thought of the song in decades. But I think it’s fitting for Sylvia Plath, and even for me in regards to my dearly beloved, who had the gambling addiction I didn’t know about, and who taught me all the gentle ins & outs of filing for a restraining order… (heavy sigh). Okay. I love you guys! See ya!!

“Drowning in the Sea of Love”

[Chorus]
I’ve been down one time
I’ve been down two times
But now I’m drowning, drowning in the sea of love

Let me tell ya all about it
I’ve been out here so very long, I’ve lost all my direction
Baby when you came my way I thought I’d found my protection
But a strong wind came into my life, surely took me by surprise
& I can’t seem to control these tears that’s falling from my eyes

Listen to me
Baby I depended on you, for a love & affection
But now you gone and deserted me, can’t you see that I’m in desperation
I’m in the middle of a bad love storm, ooh yeah I just can’t let it, boy I
Looked around and all I could see, was water coming over me

All I do is cry, all I do is walk around and cry
But right now I’m drowning, oh I’m drowning in the sea of love

But that’s alright, I don’t mind drowning for your love
That’s alright baby, hear me when I say it’s alright
You got the kind of love that make me feel alright
You got the kind of love baby that make me cry all night long
You got the kind of love baby make me do things I don’t wanna do
And it’s alright

c- 1971 Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff

5 thoughts on “An Ode to Sylvia & A Bunch of Other Stuff!”

  1. There is a book by the Dutch writer Connie Palmen that describes the marriage between Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. The description of the relationship is very interesting and objectifies the previous view on Silvia Plath. Connie Palmen shows exactly how mentally ill people manipulate and disturb the people they love.

    1. Mental illness is so difficult. Especially suicidal depression. I think it really spirals the ill person into intensely self-focused self-involvement. I know how much it damages personal relationships because it doesn’t allow others to “get in” in any positive way. If they could, it would help the ill person so much— could help the ill person breakout of the self-defeat of self-involvement. I liked her journals so much when she was happy, but she spiraled out, they got almost impossible to read.

      1. From Sylvia Plath I only read “The Bell Jar”. It may be somehow exciting to see how a 19-year-old woman slips into a depression that finally (in real life) drives her to commit suicide at her mid-30 as the mother of two children. The book may be well written but for me essentially limited to sprawling descriptions of the various attempts to kill oneself.

      2. I have never read “The Bell Jar.” Personally, I have struggled with suicidal depression since I was 12, and I am now 59 (!!). I even attempted suicide several times — many, many years ago now. But truly, almost my entire life has been lived with me trying very hard to not kill myself. To develop strategies on my own. So I understand what she suffered from. At the same time, I cannot read or see things (books/movies/art) that will trigger my own battles with despair. “The Bell Jar” was simply off limits for me. And as I mentioned, the early parts of her Journals, where she was truly happy and in love and her writing was going very well — that part was a joy to read. But as she spiraled downward again, it was nearly impossible for me to read. But I do appreciate her gifts when she was able to feel joy in being alive.

      3. I think it was Jorge Luis Borges who once said: “Reading is thinkin with a strange mind”. Plath’s novel was for me almost scientific prose. She seemed very BiPolar. Right down to the part where she stuck her head in the oven.

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