Sunday, January 02, 2005

Get Happy

I watched the movie Sylvia tonight and I'm not sure quite what to think of it so I'm going to blather here for a while. It was definitely interesting from the writer's point of view, although I suppose it's nice to theorize that we most of us don't have to be one step away from destructively depressed or otherwise slightly mentally ill to write or otherwise create intense works of art (although I'm sure my own melancholy spells do help at times).

I guess I got to thinking, that if her relationship with Ted Hughes was so destructive as it was portrayed (and I can't say that I know much about Plath's personal life other the fact that she was married to Ted Hughes and that she did commit suicide), I guess my question was, would her work have been so intense if things hadn't gone the way they had? What was most chilling, maybe, was when they were in their honeymoon phase, she was happy, and baking cakes instead of writing. Like being happy gave her writers' block. (Again, it is a movie, of course.) It was her misery and suspicion, according to the premise, that started the downward spiral but also broke the dam, where she started writing her masterpieces. (At one point, she says his abandonment felt like she was liberated.)

It's an interesting thought, all that "road not taken" jazz, although I suppose it's arguable that regardless, her chemical imbalance would have deteriorated regardless of how the marriage progressed. Some people may be creative at a terrible price, but I definitely don't think that all artists must be tortured or anything of that nature. But it's thought provoking to think of the twists and turns in life that may feed or smother the creative impulse... And in fact, I know I've written my way out of tough times.

And on this note, let's all be as cheerful as possible, please! :) I suppose bringing Sylvia Plath into any conversation may not be such an "up" conversation piece. I guess if it struck me so I should look into reading up on her.



Blogger Jen said...

I wasn't a big fan of this movie, either. However, I think it's important to acknowledge that writing is often cathartic for troubled lives, as you and I both know! I hardly ever write when I'm happy—I'm outside smelling the flowers and such. What a crazy "gift" to have, huh? I think being introspective just makes people more sensitive to their internal tides and that the "gift" of artistic expression is just a way to quell them, like our own internal Xanax.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Michèle said...

I think it can work either way. Some people write in order to cope with their insanity. Some go insane from too much writing and introspection.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Hebdomeros said...

Now that's an interesting thought. I'm a believer of using art to work out your psychosis, but I've never thought of the act of creating art as being able to drive a person crazy. Except maybe in a horror novel.

Off the top of my head, I can think more of performers than authors, but I know there must be some.

Oddly, I've never been into Plath much. I don't know why. I'll probably try the movie, though.

8:34 PM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

All right for the internal Xanax! Thank God for it. :) It generally does help me to write when I'm down... I definitely wrote my way through some very dark hours the year before last. I'm glad these days, I'm writing through mostly good hours with only a few shadows here and there.

I think what little I read of Plath, I liked, but then again, most of the stuff I read by her, I read while I was still going through vast periods of melancholy, like in college and just out of college. It might be interesting to see how I feel about her work now...

11:48 PM  

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