Thanks for the cheer, Inspire. I'll run the quotes in this post. It may take a few days to complete.
Letters Home by Sylvia Plath. Selected by Aurelia Schober Plath (SP's mother). 1975. Lib. of Congress spine #: PS 3566 L27 Z293 1992. Page/[my comments] & Quote147/
[SP audits a class Alfred Kazin held at Smith] Well, I when I went to his writing class of ten, I was delighted with him, but appalled at the weak, mealy-mouthed apathy of the girls, who either were just too scared or just too stupid to have opinions.147/
The thing about writing is not to talk, but to do it; no matter how bad or even mediocre it is, the process and production is the thing, not the sitting and theorizing about how one should write ideally, or how well one could write if one really wanted to or had the time. As Mr Kazin told me: "You don't write to support yourself; you work to support your writing."
[This aligns with the 'research' that has been getting a lot of ballyhoo in the blogworld
. SP already had that ethic, and peppered through her letters are her attempts to keep writing going even through crazy times. Also, your prolix writing of letters is writing
, Ms. Plath.]170-171/
[SP comments on begin asked to revise a poem] Prose, I wouldn't mind, but a poem is like a little watch: alter the delicate juxtaposition of cogs, and it just may not tick.193/
Instead of wishing rather frantically, as I once did, to be brilliant, creative, and successful all at once, I now have a steadier, more practical approach which admits my various limitations and blind spots and works a little day by day to overcome them slowly without expecting immediate, or even eventual perfection. Life is rich, full, and I am discovering more about it by living every challenging day.201-202/
Perhaps the hardest thing I have to accept in life is "not being perfect" in any way, but only striving in several directions for expression: in living (with people and the world), and writing, both of which activities paradoxically limit and enrich each other. Gone is the simple college cycle of winning prizes, and here is the more complex, less clear-cut arena of life, where there is no single definite aim, but a complex degree of aims, with no prizes to tell you you've done well. Only the sudden flashes of joy that come when you commune deeply with another person, or see a particularly golden mist at sunrise, or recognize on paper a crystal expression of a thought that you never expected to write down.208/
Writing sharpens life; life enriches writing.211/
When I say I must
write, I don't mean I must
publish. There is a great difference.
… I have no illusions about my writing any more; I think I can
be competent and publish occasionally if I work. But I am dependent on the process of writing, not on the acceptance; and If I have a dry spell the way I did last term, I wait and live harder, eyes, ears, and heart open, and when the productive time comes, it is that much richer. 275/
Every day one has to earn
the name of "writer" over again, with much wrestling.306/
Just to know it is normal
to have cycles of feeling barren as hell sustains one. I am becoming more and more accustomed to it, but both Ted [Hughes, Plath's poet husband] and I realize that the fatality is to stop writing
. We would go on, daily, writing a few pages of drivel until the juice came back, rather than stop, because the inertia built up is terrible to conquer. So, for our "health" we write at least two hours a day.
That's all I clipped from giving this a speedy skimming. If she'd not killed herself @ 30 she'd be about 86 or 87.