Like many a good college girl in 1988, I wrote a paper about Sylvia Plath. About one paper, my professor wrote
You combine striking images (of your own & from Plath) with some careful assessment of this love-and-hate affair. I appreciate your moving beyond the easy Freudian interpretations of a life, which in its complexity, transcends father/daughter paradigms and clinical stereotypes. You treat her whole life without simplification of it.
How about that? (Have you kept any college papers?)
In 1989, my mother wrote
I know how much you admire Sylvia Plath’s writings, & I naturally worry about you because you’re a creative person starting out. I wonder sometimes if you feel pressured by me–& perhaps your father–to be so “O.K.” & “self-motivating.” As if at times don’t feel lost or unsure or just plain scared–of the future, of yourself. If I have nothing else to offer you, it would be to tell you to be yourself & forget about what I want or think of you.
Still, now, my head spins like this
Oh! I’m done with this story, I like this story I’ve written. Wait. Is it done? Do I like it because I’m a delusional egomaniac or is it good? Maybe I think it’s bad because I’m insecure and can’t judge my own work. I’ll have someone else read it. But maybe I’m just looking for compliments. No. I want criticism. But what if they say my story is terrible? Maybe they’ll think I’m crazy for thinking I can write anything–what she thinks this is good? But what if they say something nice? Are they being nice? And am I manipulating people into saying nice things? Maybe I’m sabotaging myself? Aren’t I smart enough to figure this out for myself? Maybe I’m not done with this story at all? But maybe I’ll edit the life out. Maybe it is a mess. Why doesn’t…
What is it you are waiting to hear to have faith in yourself and what you can do?