the·right·words.
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Yes, I was infatuated with you: I am still. No one has ever heightened such a keen capacity of physical sensation in me. I cut you out because I couldn’t stand being a passing fancy. Before I give my body, I must give my thoughts, my mind, my dreams. And you weren’t having any of those.
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
I want to write because I have the urge to excel in one medium of translation and expression of life. I can’t be satisfied with the colossal job of merely living. Oh, no, I must order life in sonnets and sestinas and provide a verbal reflector for my 60-watt lighted head.
Sylvia Plath, The Journals of Sylvia Plath
God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of ‘parties’ with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter— they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long.
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
It is a terrible thing
To be so open: it is as if my heart
Put on a face and walked into the world.
Sylvia Plath, “Three Women”
I am what I feel and think and do. I want to express my being as fully as I can because I somewhere picked up the idea that I could justify my being alive that way.
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
What horrifies me most is the idea of being useless: well-educated, brilliantly promising, and fading out into an indifferent middle age.
Sylvia Plath, The Journals of Sylvia Plath
I too want to be important. By being different. And these girls are all the same.
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
I am still so naïve; I know pretty much what I like and dislike; but please, don’t ask me who I am. A passionate, fragmentary girl, maybe?
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
I like people too much or not at all. I’ve got to go down deep, to fall into people, to really know them.
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
To learn and think; to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”“
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Life has been some combination of fairy-tale coincidence and joie de vivre and shocks of beauty together with some hurtful self-questioning.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar