The Sylvia Plath Effect

January 28, 2010 at 11:56 pm Leave a comment

My father surprised me with two mahogany bookshelves from Thailand and I immediately arranged my paperbacks alphabetically on them, even speaking to each book while on it: “Plath, you sit next to Roth…yes, yes.”

I just spoke to my paperback dealer and I am purchasing about 16 rare titles, among them Charles Bukowski and Anne Sexton. Anne Sexton shall finally be re-united with Sylvia Plath in the confines of my shelves (Sexton and Plath were acquaintances while both attending Boston University).

Speaking of suicidal female poets, I chanced upon an article on a psychological phenomenon called The Sylvia Plath Effect. I researched further on the subject. According to Wikipedia, The Sylvia Plath Effect is “a term coined by psychologist James C. Kaufman in 2001 to refer to the phenomenon that creative writers are more susceptible to mental illness. Kaufman’s work demonstrated that female poets were more likely to suffer from mental illness than any other class of writers. This finding has been discussed in many international newspapers, including the New York Times. The finding is consistent with other psychological research studies.” (Go here to view the actual page)

In my case, I can’t opt for the noose yet. I still have to 1) purchase my own flat in a small French suburb 2) eat an Eggs Benedict dish in a New York diner; 3) kiss that one particular gorgeous boy; and 4) successfully water color paint Heath Ledger in the nude.

I can’t die yet. Life is too beautiful right now to abandon.

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Entry filed under: journals.

List of lusts on a Friday JD Salinger, 91.

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