28-29th March, 2017 – Jarring Bells

Tuesday, 28th of March

Another work day, somewhat dreary, a little chillier than it has been. But I was certainly busy enough at work enough today to fail to take a photo… again. However, I’ll talk for a moment instead about a book I just finished reading. It’s called The Bell Jar, by a woman named Sylvia Plath.

Here’s an excerpt:

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The Bell Jar is an interesting, saddening, and hopeful story all at the same time. It’s about a young woman struggling to find herself and work out her role in life, much as the above quote summarizes. However, the normal trials and tribulations of a young woman’s life were for her confounded by the appearance of a bell jar overhead, which closed down around her and stifled all life and movement within–depression. Her treatment at the time was being institutionalized and eventually electroshock therapy.

Sounds like a happy read, right? Despite the heavy subject matter, the book is still an intriguing read and ends on what I will only say is a hopeful note. However, it can’t be overlooked that the words and events of the book were plucked from author Sylvia Plath’s own life, which she eventually took in suicide.

It’s a sobering book and conclusion for Plath. I think all of us can relate to having felt the stifling nature of a bell jar drop down on our heads to some degree, which makes it all the more relevant of a read.

The irony to me is that when you look up Plath’s words and works on Google, you find a shit load of images of girls’ tattooed bodies with her scribe on their person. I wonder what she would think of that sort of thing, as a person who struggled to find herself and maintain her own identity in a time where a woman’s role seemed inexorably bound to having a husband and a family; who worried about the sudden popularity of her book; who kept to herself. To be suddenly seen as some sort of altar-figure to confused young ladies everywhere for not only her words but her ultimate demise… well.

It’s a strange wee world innit?

Wednesday, 29th of March

Went to visit Haitham’s dad in Glasgow following work. Normally he lives much further away, but he was in town for a minor surgery. Funny story, that, as he’d taken all his children by surprise in his even needing surgery at all. He’d mentioned it to one or two of the gathered masses at Layla’s leaving do, but the rest (like H and I) were in the dark and totally aghast when we saw his message that 1) he not only needed surgery, but 2) was already done with it! I guess that’s the trouble with havin’ a good portion of chillens. Keeping track of who you’ve told and who you haven’t can be a meddlesome affair!

Because it is the thing to do, just before I left work I hastily threw together a tiny potted plant for him as a “get-well soon” gift. Haitham wouldn’t let me make a massive planted container for him like I wanted (le sigh), so instead I took a wee houseplant planter and popped a lemon balm into it. The thing smells a bit like mosquito repellent, but I thought it would be the toughest option–considering it was going to a notorious plant murderer, a solid choice! I told him he had my permission to kill it or dump it on someone else–we’ll see if it’s still around next holiday visit!

In the end we had some lovely chat, reassured ourselves to Papa Bear’s health, and devoured some recovery pizza. Not a bad way to recuperate, eh? Here he is below showing what I think is a ever-increasing resemblance to H. It could just be the furrowed brow of concentration as H explains podcasts, though.

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