I’ve just started reading The Bell Jar. I’ve always been forcefully drawn to Sylvia Plath but equally aware of a strong rope-like feeling around my waist, pulling me back from her work simultaneously – the way that something inside of you draws you back from the people you know you could fall hopelessly in love with during one conversation, but who with them, bring the atrocities of heartache that you’d rather not deal with. Her darkness, her wordsmithery, her independent thought – she has everything that makes me weak at the knees. I’m only thirty pages in and I’m already dreading arriving at the last full stop on the last page – for I know that it will signify the end of much more than her only novel. I plan to take my time with this one, however even that is proving difficult. There’s just something so compelling about the way in which she constructs her sentences that each time I put the book down, she leaves me wanting more. The words she uses and the way in which she assembles them so fluidly and interestingly, leaves me living and breathing the main character, Esther Greenwood more and more with each line. I am reading each word out loud (in private of course) in an accent similar to the one of the mid-century socialite character, Holly Golightly, from the movie ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and I am enjoying convincing myself that I actually am indeed Esther Greenwood and having a lot of fun in the process receiving free beauty samples from designer houses and ordering straight vodkas.
Before The Bell Jar, I enjoyed Reservoir 13 which was longlisted for the Man Booker prize 2017. It’s a beautiful read that took me on a journey through time, vividly unfolded by beautiful descriptions and measures of the changing seasons of nature, which gradually became a strong theme of the novel. That in itself, was a welcomed and unexpected surprise – when I first picked up the book and read the description of it being about a missing 13 year old girl, I anticipated crime tents and dead bodies rather than swallows nests and lambing seasons. The reason I was initially drawn to it was that it referenced my lucky number and fortunately for me, it didn’t disappoint as it took me back to childhood memories of long summer holidays spent enjoying the countryside at my grandparents home in Strathblane (a small village sandwiched between Loch Lomond and Glasgow). The book isn’t set there but I imagined the main village in the story to be similar and I enjoyed the nostalgia that came with that. Its undercurrent is very much a message that Mother Nature, regardless of what is thrown at her by the human race, stops for no man and this made me think a lot about my own life, at this moment in time and how currently, through taking on the MLitt course, I’m trying to keep afloat in waters that seem to be constantly rising.
Well, the pile of books on my sideboard at home (materialising as a result of my never ending reading list) is certainly rising and becoming a constant reminder of the volume of work I need to get through over the coming weeks. Although at times it feels a little daunting, this large wad of waiting stories also excites me immensely. It’s been a long time since reading was at the top of my priority list and I am welcoming the hours that I am now ‘obliged’ to spend with my nose in a real book as opposed to a blue and white digital one! My social media presence may be suffering, but my imagination is thanking me to no end.