Bell Jar


Finished Bell Jar. I need to further qualify the initial assessment. It felt like a giant wheel – the ride in local fair. Sort of calmly takes you up to the pinnacle and drops you down and you keep falling – with the feeling of heart rising in anticipation of impending fall. The journey through depression, madness and various ways to commit suicide. It is a heart wrenching read – not recommended on a sunny day.. or come to think of it, on rainy day as well. Beautiful writing.. I keep taking notes these days of what I liked since memory is shot.
 
Tail end of a sweet dream..
New York was bad enough. By nine in the morning the fake, country-wet freshness that somehow seeped in overnight evaporated like the tail end of a sweet dream. Mirage-grey at the bottom of the their granite canyons, the hot streets wavered in the sun, the car tops sizzled and glittered, and the dry, cindery dust blew into my eyes and down my throat.
 
I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.
 
City hanging in the window like a poster..
The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.
I knew perfectly well the cars were making a noise, and the people in them and behind the lit windows of the buildings were making a noise, and the river was making a noise, but I couldn’t hear a thing. The city hung in my window, flat as a poster, glittering and blinking, but it might just as well not have been there at all, for all the good it did me.
 
Crawling in through the lines of a story..:)
I thought it was a lovely story, especially the part about the fig tree in winter under the snow and the fig tree in spring with all the green fruit. I felt sorry when I came to the last page. I wanted to crawl in between those black lines of print the way you crawl through a fence, and go to sleep under the beautiful big green fig tree.
 
A poet defending her craft..
People were made of nothing so much as dust, and I couldn’t see that doctoring all that dust was a bit better than writing poems people would remember and repeat to themselves when they were unhappy or sick and couldn’t sleep.
 
Diving into depression and madness..
If being neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I am neurotic as hell. I’ll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.
 
I took up the silver knife and cracked off the cap of my egg. Then I put down the knife and looked at it. I tried to think what I have loved knives for, but my mind slipped from the noose of the thought and swung, like a bird, in the centre of empty air.
 
I had removed my patent leather shoes after a while, for they foundered badly in the sand. It pleased me to think they would be perched there on the silver log, pointing out to sea, like a sort of soul-compass, after I was dead.
 
To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream. A bad dream. I remembered everything. Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind snow, should numb and cover them. But they were part of me. They were my landscape.
 
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Went through some of the TED talks from the Top 20 most popular talks this weekend - https://www.ted.com/playlists/171/the_20_most_popular_talks_of_a. One was by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love” (in wish list) - https://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius. She was talking about artists suffering from their own creative process and losing so many of them. Her remedy was to think of genius as an invisible Gollum who takes a bit of credit when everything goes perfect and a lot of blame when the work doesn’t come out that well. A way to shift the load and the anxiety from the artist. Her stories of artists chasing after inspiration as it hits them were very interesting, a good way to think about..  

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