Took a train to the city today. Brought Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams with me to read. Didn't read a single story or journal excerpt written by Plath yet, but I did read Ted Hughes' introduction. He said some really interesting things about Plath and her writing habits. He felt that parts of her personality really limited her writing skills. He also noted that her biggest story, biggest battle, was the one she was fighting with herself. I can relate.
Stopped at The Strand; picked up a book of H.P. Lovecraft's stories. Ever since I realized that there's a lot of Lovecraftian stuff going on in Lost, I've wanted to read some of his stuff. Plus, I just like reading the work of wildly imaginative, twisted writers. Again, I read the introduction (by Joyce Carol Oates) and didn't make it to any of the actual stories yet. I found out that Lovecraft, too, was limiting and weird, despite being an excellent writer.
It makes me feel a little bit better to read these accounts of the writers' personalities. I feel a little less alone when I see that they were fighting through some of the same things I am. I think some people close to me wonder why I can't just, you know, be normal and write happy stuff. I hold the opinion that the best stories out there are twisted and weird. Who wants to read about anyone ordinary? I don't. And I don't want to write about anyone ordinary, either.
Plath and Lovecraft are two writers that somehow managed to win parts of their internal battles and really churn out some good stuff (despite that some of their internal battles also infringed upon the quality of other works they tried to create). Granted, I don't think either writer was nearly as popular during their lives as they have been posthumously, but hey, at least they got their stuff out there. They've left behind a legacy. They've left behind things that other writers read and try to learn from.
I want to do that, too.