This is a new gem from my pal Peter K. Steinberg at Sylviaplathinfo.blogspot.com. He's videotaping the actual public garden Plath writes about in Chapter 11. My favorite part is the end where Peter says he thinks that's what a weeping scholar tree is. It's beautiful and surreal, to see in real life what you have imagined in your own reader's brain a thousand times as you revise your YA book called Bell Jar Summer. In Chapter 11 she also mentions Chicago and imagines the intricacies involved in committing Hari Kari, "...they would jab in the knives in and zip them around, one on the upper crescent and one on the lower crescent, making a full circle. Then their stomach skin would come loose, like a plate, and their insides would fall out, and they would die."
This whole video reminded me of the time I was in Russia in 1994 post Perestroika and Galsnost, pre now. I was a Russian Lit freak (are you surprised?) and in love with Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita and we visited Patriarch's Ponds in Moscow where the beginning of the novel is set and it was like walking fully awake through a recurring dream. On a corner of the deserted water there was a cafe with a giant menacing black cat painted on the wall (Behemoth) and we spent what little money we had left to eat real food there. The place was filled with drunk Russian gangsters and a skinny and terrified strolling violin player. There were roses on the tables and menacing hilarity throughout. If only I had a digital camera then.
Things are purring along here in Bell Jar Summer Land. The words aren't exactly leaping out of my brain onto the page but, they are slowly but surely showing up for work. Bukowski, as played by Mickey Rourke in Barfly, said no writer worth anything wrote in peace. And thank christ because things are upside down and inside out and etc. all around me. Summer camp registration, laundry, dinner, can you pick up my kilt from the dry cleaner, blackberry washing, packing, car seat ordering, bed making, picture hanging, oh and my Mom's on her way to Paris, my baby needs a haircut and I can't tell if the dishes in the dishwasher are clean or dirty. We're off to Scotland in one week. I need 50 more pages of great genius. And YET!! I love it all! When I remember to eat is is standing over the sink and involves hummus, hot sauce, and some kind of whole wheat mini bagel or whole wheat tortilla. It's all good but. It's a lot. When I imagined my eventual rise to literary infamy it involved lengthy in-depth interviews on NPR, smoking while wearing cashmere and long un-interupted days immersed in language and nuance and insights to the human condition. Ah well. I'm doing it aren't I. Aren't I?