Definitely. I write a lot of poems I never publish, and there are poems I feel vulnerable posting.
I think a large part of the reason I write is I have a very hard time articulating my thoughts and feelings to other people in conversation. Writing gives me a chance sit with my experiences and express them when I’m ready. It’s a vulnerable thing to share them, but maybe a necessary kind of vulnerable.
I guess I am both happy and sad.
I am happy because apparently young people in Riverside, California will never witness or experience mortality since they won’t be reading my book, which is great for them.
But I am also sad because I was really hoping I would be able to introduce the idea that human beings die to the children of Riverside, California and thereby crush their dreams of immortality.
Imagine a world where people only die if they know about death.
(How quickly) would everyone become immortal? What do you think will happen? Will there come a point wherein everyone hides the the concept of death from a generation and the concept will die out? Can you even do that? You can’t teach any form of history, or even family trees, because every previous generation has died (what about pets and other animals? is it only human mortality that counts?). Infant mortality would drop to zero though.
If people only can die if they know death exist, would anything change at all?
And so a novel was born.
Plath often sets off something primal for young women. She expresses powerful, taboo emotions—rage, sorrow, the desire for revenge—in a way that often encourages those young women to take their own inner lives seriously, and to spend quite a lot of time working out how to express them. Those emotions can be powerful and liberating.
This is not to say that there aren’t real criticisms to be made when it comes to Plath’s work, and I realize that women and feminists are often the ones to make them. But making fun of “the girl who thinks she’s Sylvia Plath” is making fun of the girl who takes her inner life seriously; seriously enough to write about it in some pretty stark terms, without feeling embarrassed.
When I was wandering through the library, grabbing anything with a female name on it, I was really looking for teachers. More important, I was looking for women to tell me that writing was possible. I needed evidence that someone like me, a young girl, could one day be a serious writer, and that female voices matter. Sylvia Plath’s poetry was pretty damn compelling evidence of all that.