Tuesday, October 9, 2007

razor blades and a warm bath

i am nearly finished with sylvia plath's the bell jar. this is probably not the book i should be reading at this moment in my life. what's more, my wife warned me not to get it. i suppose there is a kind of sick justice that i used my father's gift card that he bought me at borders (he had the manager lock it up in the safe so i could go pick it up - what warmth - happy birthday son!) to buy the book.
i loved the first half of the book. the second half is nothing more than shock treatments, mental hospitals, razor blades, glass bottles of pills; suicide in all fashion. suicide has never seemed as attractive to me as it has in this book. i am not saying: committing suicide is attractive to me. it isn't. but the repeated variations, and the beauty of her descriptions combined with the psychologically awkward place i find myself in is an unhealthy combination. she manages to even make the process of disembowel ling oneself a aesthetic exercise in death.
"When they asked some old Roman philosopher or other how he wanted to die, he said he would open his veins in a warm bath. I thought it would be easy, lying in the tub and seeing the redness flower from my wrists, flush after flush through the clear water, till I sank to sleep under a surface gaudy as poppies.
But when it came right down to it, the skin of my wrist looked so white and defenseless that I couldn't do it. It was as if what I wanted to kill wasn't in that skin or the thin blue pulse that jumped under my thumb, but somewhere else, deeper, more secret, and a whole lot harder to get at."

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