Taking it on The Road (part three) Mother / Daughter #vanlife

This essay was originally published on Medium.com 

A week after selling our home of twenty years, the house in which we raised a family (and collected generations worth of bric-a-brac), I exercised my first expression of freedom — three weeks in the Pacific Northwest with our daughter, Annie. I wanted to gain a glimpse into the #vanlife existence she’d been living for the past year.

She has all you need in that van, even a little library of books written by great authors who took to the road. She relayed a pertinent quote from Suleika Jaouad’s wonderful memoir BETWEEN TWO KINGDOMS on one of our hikes, “Every trip has three parts — preparing and packing for the trip, the trip itself, and the memories of the trip.” As far as prepping went, I didn’t do a great job. I was so focused on moving, the closing, and then getting my hands on her, I didn’t even research the places she’d be taking me. I flew to Portland, OR in a whirlwind where she picked me up with a full refrigerator and a well-researched itinerary. The trip was incredible (see all the photos). But ever since returning on August 27, my reflections have only intensified. It was the type of experience that demanded meaning making and an assessment of lessons learned. When people asked — how was your trip? I gave a very superficial “great!” But hopefully this post scratches a little deeper beneath the surface.

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Returning East: Road Trip as Art Across America

This essay was originally published on Medium.com under the title “Returning East: Lessons Learned on a Pandemic Road Trip.”

Whereas our trek West as our road trip began in January had been motivated by the urgent need to arrive, our return trip was intentionally drawn out, our desire to avoid returning to reality for as long as possible. We budgeted two weeks for our drive from Park City, UT to Boston, MA. Two weeks in which to traverse this strange, beautiful country. Two weeks in which to reroot ourselves in family — visit my grandparents’ graves in Oklahoma City, bring our son home for a holiday weekend. Two weeks in which to say goodbye to “Out West,” home of our ski bum test run, and prepare ourselves for a return to city life.

Before I delve too deeply into the drive, I want to reiterate how healing the trip was in general. I recently read an article by the Urban Monk regarding brain plasticity. The idea is that patterns are stuck in our brain, both healthy habits and unhealthy habits, both beneficial ways of thinking and destructive ways of thinking. Trauma can get stuck in our brains. But the good news is that it doesn’t need to be permanently stuck because our brains are plastic with the ability to change. Traveling somewhere new is an exercise to gain greater brain plasticity. I truly believe that all of our stops and having to figure out new places on this road trip kept me in the present moment, changing my brain’s dependance on routine, the auto-pilot sensation that came with so many months of being at home.

The beginning of our drive “back East” brought us perhaps the most important road trip lesson of all: sometimes the best experience is the one that wasn’t even on your itinerary.

As March 2021 drew to a close and April opened before us it was time to go home. We would find ourselves in St Louis, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, New York — cities of ever-expanding population that pulled us inevitably back toward our urban existence. Our days were no longer spent marveling at mountains or exploring personal and national histories, but working in Marriotts and replenishing the food stores that would get us from one Zoom meeting to the next. It was a stark change from the silence of our snowy walking paths. But before we arrived at our destination, we had a few more things to learn from the mountains, deserts, and prairies along the way. The beginning of our drive “back East” brought us perhaps the most important road trip lesson of all: sometimes the best experience is the one that wasn’t even on your itinerary.

jeanne-blasberg-park-city-utah-returning-east-pandemic-road-tripWe left Park City on March 20th, with an itinerary that would take us through some of the most lauded locales of the Southwest. Our first stop was Zion National Park where we’d elected to try “glamping” at Under Canvas, yet one more chance, we thought, to commune with the nature that had been so influential to us throughout the winter. But glamping, it turns out, isn’t all that glam with the March chill creeping in and two dogs demanding our attention. The wood burning stoves might’ve kept the cold at bay, but the need to refill them every 90 minutes or so led to something of a sleepless night.

In the park, we found that COVID restrictions required sightseers to enter the park by bus. Tickets were only a dollar, but sold daily on a lottery basis — so basically impossible to get. Luckily we learned that one could access the park by bike, and our time at Zion was saved by cycling into the incredible scenery.

jeanne-blasberg-arizona-with-husband-and-dogs-returning-east-pandemic-road-trip(One other travel hack we learned about was Rover.com. Dogs are not allowed inside most National Parks, but the Rover app helped us find wonderful dog sitters in nearby towns so that our dogs could be well-looked after while we were biking or hiking. I kept this app on my phone and have now used it all over the country. I would say that it is great for daycare, but I haven’t had such good luck with walking or boarding services on the app.)

Our fortunes continued to improve as we left Zion and drove south through the Grand Canyon toward Flagstaff. It was a beautiful, desolate drive and John and I were just overwhelmed by the expanse of land, the solitude and the beauty. Red earth, plateaus, long stretches of nothing but orange and auburn bright against blue sky. We crossed the Colorado river close to Lee’s Ferry and Lake Powell, stopped at the bridge to buy some great books from a small gift shop — Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and David Gessner, place-based writers emblematic of the American West. Interestingly, all three of these writers also had strong connections back East, Gessner originally from Boston. I was in good company, it seemed, among writers deeply affected by the landscape that now surrounded us.

jeanne-blasberg-american-west-red-rocks-blue-sky-returning-east-pandemic-road-tripFrom Flagstaff we drove to Santa Fe. Departing Arizona and heading into New Mexico continued our experiential lesson in expansiveness. The desert really felt deserted. It was nerve wracking, but also extremely beautiful. There was always this fear just below the surface — what if we were to break down here? How would we ever get help? For a city person to drive through hours and hours of nothing is quite something. Accustomed to 24/7 road side assistance, the ability to order anything and receive it quickly, the lack of apparent help or support in the event of danger took us back to an earlier era of self-reliance. With a survivalist’s frame of mind, the red rocks and landscape were more than a beautiful backdrop. They spoke to me, “We are more than just iconic scenery, you must live to tell about it. You must have gas, you must have water, you must know how to repair your own car.” The thrill of the road trip was wrapped up in the beauty, for sure, but making it through to the other side felt brave and like an accomplishment too.

Closures and vacancies due to COVID were evident all over New Mexico, but the landscape as we approached the civilization of Albuquerque was a balm for two easterners not ready to let go of big sky, aridness, and an early taste of spring. Despite all the major museums being closed in Santa Fe, galleries were open, and the Saturday we were there, we were treated to perfect weather in which to walk and take in the town. We meandered through the galleries in the Santa Fe Railyard where there was a lively outdoor market and contemporary art museum. We were attracted to the large oil paintings in one gallery, canvases painted with photographic realism, and when I asked the owner if it was okay to bring our dogs in, she brightened.

“Of course, just about every gallery in Santa Fe is dog friendly.”

Our Australian Labradoodle and long haired Dachsund never fail to be conversation starters.

“Where y’all from?”

When we explained we were from Boston, and in the midst of our drive East, the gallery owner was quick to ask if we planned to visit Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, AK on our way.

I was a little embarrassed to admit that after Santa Fe and a stop in Oklahoma City to pay respects at the gravesites of my grandparents, I hadn’t plotted out our road trip journey with much intention. But upon checking the map and seeing it wasn’t too far out of the way, we decided her mentioning it was a sign we should head there. Turns out it would actually encapsulate our experience.

We had a wonderful 24 hours in Santa Fe, where we stayed in the room at the La Posada hotel where the former mistress of the property, Julia Staab, went crazy and killed herself and is known to haunt hotel guests. I immediately ordered American Ghost a book written about Julia by her great-great-granddaughter and was incredibly edifying with regard to the town’s first and most prominent Jewish family.

From there we made our way to Amarillo TX, reading about Julia’s clan as well as well known Santa Fe artists like Georgia O’Keefe as well as Edgar Lee Hewitt and “The Eight,” artists who would frequent Santa Fe during the early part of the Twentieth Century, putting it on the map as an artist’s colony. Their art attracted funds and tourism to Santa Fe but was also responsible for portraying a romanticized view of the American West and Native Americans to patrons on the East coast. Much of this art was responsible for the misrepresenting the reality of that life, where Native Americans lived in robust communities and were not lone unicorns, not savages or curiosities.

When finally, we pulled off I-40 in Amarillo to see Cadillac Ranch, it seemed art, or at least color would be the overriding theme of our journey. This long row of Cadillacs half buried in a rancher’s land is spray painted over by tourists on a daily if not hourly basis. We arrived at dusk with the row of cars set off by a blue sky turning periwinkle and springtime green of grass. If we felt like we’d begun to appreciate the wild art of the American landscape, we had much more in store.

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Walton family patronage has made Bentonville an oasis of art and education. Crystal Bridges, one result of that patronage, is a museum of American Art, but not just any museum. There, exhibits are hung thematically as opposed to chronologically or by culture, resulting in a viewing experience set apart from that of any other art museum I’ve visited — and a commensurate level of appreciation on my part. Wouldn’t you know a place that we hadn’t originally planned on our road trip was the highlight and took the theme of experiential art, sculpture, painting and architecture to a new level.

Crystal Bridges’ curation provided a critical commentary on the approach taken by exhibitions such as those once hung by “The Eight” of the Santa Fe School in the early part of the Twentieth Century. At Crystal Bridges, traditional American art was hung alongside Native American art and African American art of similar time periods offering a more complete and complex picture of historical periods and for me highlighted the bias of the white lens through which many museums are curated. It was a timely lesson, completely in line with what I was learning in DEI training I was doing around anti-racist approaches art and cultural institutions should take. Something about being in Arkansas was liberating, maybe freeing the curators and educators there from an East Coast, “Old School,” point of view with regard to telling American stories. I so appreciated our time in this museum. It felt like the curators at Crystal Bridges were really on to a new way of hanging art and educating the public.

John and I spent an afternoon and the following morning at the museum and its gardens. The architecture and sculpture in its acres of gardens being a true part of the experience. In addition, flowers and trees were in bloom in late March, it was mild, we were being treated to another phase of spring and the natural world awakening. A quick check of the weather app on my phone told me this was not what was waiting for us in the Northeast.

jeanne-blasberg-crystal-bridges-american-art-museum-sculpture-garden-returning-east-pandemic-road-tripAs we drove out of Arkansas, we listened to Alice Walton’s audio guide of her collection, which further emphasized what we had felt walking through the galleries. Wow. She was not a woman raised on museums or with an Art History education. She learned much as a collector and had a very intuitive and contemporary take on what she purchased for the museum. She had expert advice yes, but she collected with a desire to have strong female representation and to represent artists with differing perspectives. For this Art History student from Smith College, raised on our American cities’ major museums and the great European masters, her point of view was not only refreshing but electrifying.

After Crystal Bridges, our road trip began its turn toward reality. The wide distances of the desert were filled first with grasses, then with trees, and finally with the concrete, cars, and apartment buildings of our city slicker life, an architecture and a lifestyle far less connected to the land. Still, the drive home was incredibly stimulating and took our minds off of the work we had in front of us. Taking our cue from road trip lessons, we had decided that after raising our family in Boston, it was time to sell the home our children no longer inhabited. It was just too big for the two of us, too much to keep up with. We felt ready to part with much of our stuff. Living in Air BnB’s and out of a car for 6 months can have that effect on you. In letting go of the surroundings we’d carefully curated over 20 years in Boston, we freed ourselves to see more clearly the beauty of the art objects all around us, and it was an experience we wanted more of.

jeanne-blasberg-beacon-hill-boston-spring-returning-east-pandemic-road-tripWe’ve been back in Boston for three months now, and I miss the red rock, the Ozarks, the mild weather, the unexpectedness. As I write this most of that landscape is in the midst of a drought and record heat wave. I think about the expanse of desert in such extreme conditions and I worry about the lack of water. I wonder if our potential relocation west would add to the problem of this fragile landscape or if we could settle with sensitivity, with appreciation, and a desire to do no harm?

As I write this our Boston home is under contract, with a closing in little over a month. I am purging our belongings, letting go. Things are slowly falling into place. I credit our drive out and back as the catalyst for our transformation, a literal change to my brain’s wiring. To see and feel the distance was important; to see the beauty, endlessly affecting. It’s something architects know, and sculptors: the profound impact our surroundings have on us, the undeniable impact of relationships of space. I think it spoke to two people used to crowded urban centers — it said, there is more room than you think, more opportunity, possibility for a change, even in a pandemic, even in a drought, even at your age. I’m so glad we took the time to listen.

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas

jeanne-blasberg-book-review-resurrection-of-john-ashby-cherise-wolasThe Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas

This is a big meaty book that allows you to inhabit a character’s mind as you would your own. Or at least that of a close friend with whom you are very intimate and familiar. This the story of a woman permitting the men in her life a series of small betrayals until there is one that is almost too large to forgive. Heartbreaking. Joan Ashby is a unique talent, described as brilliant, yet there is something identifiable in her that felt universal to all wives and mothers – a combination of the unanswered sacrifice and one’s dreams and desires not being taken seriously. I loved reading about Joan as a single woman, young wife and mother, and then mother of much older children. I also enjoyed the structure of the novel in that segments of Joan’s short stories and novels were included as chapters themselves. It is such an interesting way to add to the character of writer and how her circumstances influence her writing.

 

About The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

I viewed the consumptive nature of love as a threat to serious women. But the wonderful man I just married believes as I do―work is paramount, absolutely no children―and now love seems to me quite marvelous.

These words are spoken to a rapturous audience by Joan Ashby, a brilliant and intense literary sensation acclaimed for her explosively dark and singular stories.

When Joan finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she is stunned by Martin’s delight, his instant betrayal of their pact. She makes a fateful, selfless decision then, to embrace her unintentional family.

Challenged by raising two precocious sons, it is decades before she finally completes her masterpiece novel. Poised to reclaim the spotlight, to resume the intended life she gave up for love, a betrayal of Shakespearean proportion forces her to question every choice she has made.

Epic, propulsive, incredibly ambitious, and dazzlingly written, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby is a story about sacrifice and motherhood, the burdens of expectation and genius. Cherise Wolas’s gorgeous debut introduces an indelible heroine candid about her struggles and unapologetic in her ambition.

Read more of Jeannie’s Reviews on her blog, on Goodreads, or on the New York Journal of Books.

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Our Road Trip and Tips for Yours

This essay originally appeared on Medium.com

Read more of Jeannie’s Essays on her blog, at Medium.com, and across the web—and check out her book reviews at the New York Journal of Books, or on Goodreads.

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The Value of a Grown-Up Gap Year

This essay was originally published in the Travel section of Moms Don’t Have Time To as “The Value of a Grown-Up Gap Year.”

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A Quest for Quiet and the Ability to Live in it

This essay was originally published on Medium.com.

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New Year’s Books and Wishes

Welcome 2021! I know the trouble isn’t over and life will never be the same, but I am so glad to turn the page on the calendar. I greet the New Year, not with bubbly champagne at midnight, dressed in heels or a fancy dress, music playing in the background, but on this bright morning having gone to sleep early after a simple dinner on the sofa and Netflix, cuddled up in front of a fire with my husband and my dog.

jeanne-blasberg-simple-new-years-eveI gained enough wisdom in 2020 to know that is enough. More than enough, and how lucky I am. I learned to stop making plans out in the world, trotting the globe, and to look for solace in my inner life, reading and writing, thinking and listening to audiobooks and walking, just breathing. This year, I will leave the rose-colored glasses behind, the naïve, blind privilege that assumed all my tomorrows will play out as I want them to, of course they will, why wouldn’t they? There is definitely a sadder, subdued flavor to life now and what I foresee in the new year, but in a lot of ways it is truer, more real. The greater forces in the universe have imposed humility on a population that increasingly expected instant gratification and service at its fingertips. This time last year, John and I accepted a spontaneous invitation to celebrate New Year’s in the Dominican Republic, without a second thought. What a luxury to not have a second thought. Remember when we did what we wanted when we wanted, our choices seemingly without consequence? 

Sitting around on a boozy, moonlit night in the DR, I set an intention to practice more patience and to go to bed earlier in 2020. Ha. I ended up having no choice.  But instead of patience, what I think 2020 really taught me was acceptance. The Serenity Prayer embossed on a gold medallion I keep by my computer has never been more poignant – God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. There is such peace in acceptance, to end the struggle against what is.

Acceptance isn’t letting people step on you. Acceptance doesn’t mean I will take shit. Acceptance is finding joy in small things: the way the sun streams through a window and hits the floor at a particular angle, birdsong, the smell of a new bar of soap. I hope to carry an enduring ability to sit and observe into the future, along with a certainty that reading and listening is the best escapism, and, of course, an insuppressible desire to make art.  

jeanne-blasberg-new-year-beginI’m still just that little girl afraid of the dark, wanting one more book before bedtime to ward off the unknown, and the promise of a goodnight kiss. As a grown up, I’ve created my own rituals, both am and pm, which attract eye-rolls from my family. But in the New Year, I will embrace them openly. My morning routine, I know, is responsible for leading me step by step to my writing space for the past nine months, ushering me through the chaos and doubt of a resistant brain. 

Humans are creatures of routine, but we are also resilient. And just like plants turn toward the sun, we bask and grow in love. I have faith we will continue to care and to love. We will survive pestilence and divisiveness, the required muscles becoming stronger for the effort. So, I’m not wishing anyone fireworks or ecstatic pleasure in 2021, just a peaceful way, one on which we make steady progress, some forward motion each and every day. In 2021 let’s prioritize acceptance, courage, and serenity. That would be more than enough. 

PS – You can check out the Review section on my website to see what I’ve read recently, but in the spirit of looking forward here are the titles on my TBR pile:

The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

The Best of Me by David Sedaris

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

The Mermaid from Jeju by Sumi Hahn

Dreamland by Sam Quinones

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

 

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AT HOME before it was a thing…

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Literary Community: The Silver Lining of the COVID Era

I finally had a hair appointment and while the grey is back under control and the cut is cute and bouncy, the best thing about the appointment was somewhat unexpected. The act of reclining back toward the sink to have my hair shampooed brought on a state of near ecstasy I hadn’t anticipated. It wasn’t just the perfect water temperature; it was the caress and massage of another’s hands on my scalp.  I have always enjoyed that part of the process, but it’s possible at a pace of every 6-8 weeks over the past twenty years, I had begun to take it for granted.  Gloved hands working the soap through my hair made it perfectly safe for both of us (of course that was first thing that went through my mind before I could relax into the experience.)  But then it was all about another’s fingers spreading and applying pressure to a head that had been reeling, fretting, aching.

To be touched. It is a primal human need. I’ve gone six months turtling into my shell, shrinking back when others come too close, my circumference of acceptable personal space swollen and awkward.  That shampoo was a Godsend. I know what I have been missing and what might have me come alive again.

Since that afternoon, I’ve been wondering what will be the occasion and who will be the recipient of my first ungloved handshake once this has subsided, in the new-normal?  It probably won’t be planned or foreseen, but I hope it elicits the same awareness I had while my hair was being shampooed and rinsed.  As opposed to never knowing when an interaction with somebody or something is going to be your last, I look forward to being aware of that first.  I vow to be grateful for human touch and the generosity and connection it exhibits. May I never take that for granted again.

But even as my hair grew unruly and turned its natural color while at home, some things became more accessible in the virtual world, including literary events. Of course, they are always more fun in person, but never before did I have the option to attend one every day in locales near and far.  Like a kid in a candy store, I binged on them in April and May, doing my best to support authors who had the shit luck of launching a book during the pandemic. I found new favorites and ordered books from Bookshop.org to keep indies in business.

literary-community-during-covid-family-watching-computer copyThe summer months brought more events, and I was able to drag family members along in ways I never was able to before.  While working on a jigsaw puzzle, my son and I tuned into a Sarah Broom and Thelma Golden in discussion about THE YELLOW HOUSE through the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival.  Our local bookstore featured Colson Whitehead’s discussion of THE NICKLE BOYS and THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD and while my adult children went on about their business preparing dinner in the kitchen, they stopped and listened—and then actually read all of Whitehead’s work.  I binged on Europa Edition’s worldwide panel discussions of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series, the Boston Book Festival’s event with Ella Berthoud, who streamed in from the UK to prescribe her NOVEL CURE

I’ve also taken many classes and attended writing conferences, thanks to Grub Street, The Southampton Writers Conference, Brooke Warner of She Writes Press, and Mary Carroll Moore. What’s more, I taught my first fiction workshop, an 8 week generative class on Monday evenings through the Westerly Writers Workshop and the Ocean Community YMCA. What used to be an infrequent respite from a busy life has become a weekly pleasure, filling in the distance between us and the encircling arms of friends.

jeanne-blaserbg-at-computer-for-literary-eventAnd I am not alone. If you are a book lover or lifelong learner, I’m sure you have had similar experiences.  If you want a few tips – please know it is Book Festival Season. I am biased toward the Boston Book Festival, but the Brooklyn Book Festival and the National Book Festival are also coming up with events open to all online.

We are at a strange moment in time, with technology making our world smaller and more accessible even as world events balloon the distance between us. But don’t take it for granted. Indulge now because the pendulum is sure to swing once more.  

Even as I look forward to that first handshake, the next shampoo, the opportunity to hug friends outside my bubble close once more, this communion with fellow book lovers is a different kind of needed touch. For now, may I take as much pleasure in the brief caress of each literary event as I did in that simple moment at the salon. 

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Graced by the Hummingbird: Sylvia Plath’s Legacy

This essay originally appeared on Medium.com.

I propped my head on pillows this morning, listening to the sound of the rain on the roof. Still early, I picked up The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and finished it in one last gulp. It’s a classic I rued not already having read, if not for its importance in the cannon of feminist literature, then for its ties to my alma mater, Smith College.

COVID has provided time to address several gaps in my education and I was pulled to Sylvia after references kept popping up in contemporary work. In My Dark Vanessa, Small Fry, The Dollhouse, there she was again and again, a signpost pointing to what to read next. When synchronicities appear, I generally pay attention.

With the rain still falling and a grey morning unfolding, I splayed my copy of The Bell Jar across my chest and felt grateful to have waited the thirty-five years post Smith to read it. Back then, it would have given me even greater reason to despair.

***

John and I had no idea in 2012 when we bought the land and built that house that we would be positioned in the midst of incredible bird life. The osprey nest should have been our first clue, but there are also gulls, swans and herons and duck and geese that flock around us. Last fall bald eagles perched on our pilings. Hawks glide above and I worry sometimes about the puppies alone in the yard. There are swallows feasting on swarms of insects and now hummingbirds sparring for position on the feeders filled with “Perky Pet” nectar aka hummingbird crack. There are red cardinals and yellow goldfinch. The gulls drop fish and crabs on the lawn which the dogs like to scavenge.

This summer, while addressing further gaps in my education, I was reminded our house sits on land inhabited by the Eastern Niantic. Chief Ninigret may have knelt in the spot that is now our yard and peered across the Pawcatuck River to the land of the Pequot and Mohegan. His tribe named this land Misquamicut, the place of plentiful red fish. Misquamicut is also the name of the state beach where people flocked during this summer’s heat, not wearing masks, and the name of our country club.

***

sylvia-plath-legacy-inheritance-hummingbird-jeanne-blasbergSylvia Plath was born in Boston in 1932 and graduated from Smith College in 1955. She was the beneficiary of a scholarship from the Smith College Club of Wellesley. She died in England in 1963, the same year The Bell Jar was published. Sylvia married Ted Hughes on Bloomsday, June 16. From what I have read, their marriage was troubled early on.

My great-grandmother, Florence Durgin attended Smith College between 1895 and 1897, and then as if our birthright, three generations would follow. Sylvia was sandwiched in between my mother and my grandmother, as a student and later as an instructor in the English department between 1957–1958.

Although my DNA did not physically overlap with Sylvia’s, the mood conveyed in The Bell Jar certainly did. Struck by her description of Esther Greenwood’s mental state, I recognized the darkness that creeped into my chest while living in Northampton. It was a loneliness, probably not unlike what most young people feel when first away from home, but it was exacerbated by the lack of typical college-age distractions and a feeling I did not fit in. There was just me and the work and an uncertain future looming in the distance. Immersed in athletics, I spent many hours inside my head. When I starved myself in an attempt to exert some control, my father said he would pay my tuition only if I kept a standing appointment with a psychiatrist. So I showed up dutifully at the health center once a week where a nurse inquired as to whether I might be pregnant, did I need any birth control?

***

We have a pair of binoculars in the kitchen with which to watch the osprey traverse from their nest among a small outcropping of rocks in the river to a grove of trees across the cove. Bass are plentiful and in summers when they have mouths to feed, we listened to the babies cry for more. The babies will be kicked out of the nest before summer’s end and I wonder if they know what is coming, if they worry about their prospects in the world. How they know where to go?…

Continue reading Jeannie’s reflections on Sylvia Plath here.