Sylvia Plath Fig Tree Metaphor

“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”

Franz Kafka, the little girl and her doll

Based on an entry in Franz Kafka’s diary:

At 40, Franz Kafka (1883-1924), who never married and had no children, walked through the park in Berlin when he met a girl who was crying because she had lost her favourite doll. She and Kafka searched for the doll unsuccessfully.

Kafka told her to meet him there the next day and they would come back to look for her.

The next day, when they had not yet found the doll, Kafka gave the girl a letter “written” by the doll saying “please don’t cry. I took a trip to see the world. I will write to you about my adventures.”

Thus began a story which continued until the end of Kafka’s life.

During their meetings, Kafka read the letters of the doll carefully written with adventures and conversations that the girl found adorable.

Finally, Kafka brought back the doll (he bought one) that had returned to Berlin.

“It doesn’t look like my doll at all,” said the girl.

Kafka handed her another letter in which the doll wrote: “my travels have changed me.” the little girl hugged the new doll and brought the doll with her to her happy home.

A year later Kafka died.

Many years later, the now-adult girl found a letter inside the doll. In the tiny letter signed by Kafka it was written:

“Everything you love will probably be lost, but in the end, love will return in another way.”

Embrace the change. It’s inevitable for growth. Together we can shift pain into wonder and love, but it is up to us to consciously and intentionally create that connection.

Hunter S. Thompson Funeral

Thompson killed himself with a gun, and his funeral was a gala event:

On August 20, 2005, in a private funeral, Thompson’s ashes were fired from a cannon. This was accompanied by red, white, blue, and green fireworks—all to the tune of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” and Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man”. The cannon was placed atop a 153-foot (47 m) tower which had the shape of a double-thumbed fist clutching a peyote button, a symbol originally used in his 1970 campaign for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado. The plans for the monument were initially drawn by Thompson and Steadman, and were shown as part of an Omnibus program on the BBC titled Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision (1978). It is included as a special feature on the second disc of the 2004 Criterion Collection DVD release of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and labeled as Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood. According to his widow, Anita, the $3 million funeral was funded by actor Johnny Depp, who was a close friend of Thompson’s. Depp told the Associated Press, “All I’m doing is trying to make sure his last wish comes true. I just want to send my pal out the way he wants to go out.” An estimated 280 people attended, including U.S. Senators John Kerry and George McGovern; 60 Minutes correspondents Ed Bradley and Charlie Rose; actors Jack Nicholson, John Cusack, Bill Murray, Benicio del Toro, Sean Penn, and Josh Hartnett; musicians Lyle Lovett, John Oates and David Amram, and artist and long-time friend Ralph Steadman.

The tower holding the cannon was torn down later in 2005 (photo by Paul Conrad, the Aspen Times):

Ezra Pound

Today in 1949 – Ezra Pound is awarded the first Bollingen Prize in poetry by the Bollingen Foundation and Yale University.

At the time Pound, an American, was locked in St. Elizabeths mental hospital in Washington, D.C., where he stayed for 12 years. He had been charged with treason but was never tried. His fellow artists helped secure his release in 1958, and he went to Italy, where he died in 1972. Here’s his mug shot when he was arrested.

Joseph Campbell Defines Mythology

“One might reasonably define mythology as other people’s religion. The definition of religion is equally uncomplicated: it is misunderstood mythology. The misunderstanding consists typically in interpreting mythological symbols as though they were references to historical facts. . . . One finds the same basic mythological themes in all the religions of the world, from the most primitive to the most sophisticated, from the North American plains to European forests to Polynesian atolls. The imagery of myth is a language, a ‘lingua franca’ that expresses something basic about our deepest humanity.”

~ Joseph Campbell

#FavoriteQuotes #JosephCampbell

Tulips – Sylvia Plath

One of my favorite poems by those who died too young:

Sylvia Plath died in London, England, on this day in 1963 (Suicide, aged 30)

Tulips – Sylvia Plath (18 March 1961)

The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.

“Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in.

I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly

As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands.

I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.

I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses

And my history to the anesthetist and my body to surgeons.


They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff

Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.

Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in.

The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble,

They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps,

Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another,

So it is impossible to tell how many there are.


My body is a pebble to them, they tend it as water

Tends to the pebbles it must run over, smoothing them gently.

They bring me numbness in their bright needles, they bring me sleep.

Now I have lost myself I am sick of baggage———

My patent leather overnight case like a black pillbox,

“My husband and child smiling out of the family photo;

Their smiles catch onto my skin, little smiling hooks.


I have let things slip, a thirty-year-old cargo boat

Stubbornly hanging on to my name and address.

They have swabbed me clear of my loving associations.

Scared and bare on the green plastic-pillowed trolley

I watched my teaset, my bureaus of linen, my books

Sink out of sight, and the water went over my head.

I am a nun now, I have never been so pure.


I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted

To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.

How free it is, you have no idea how free———

The peacefulness is so big it dazes you,

And it asks nothing, a name tag, a few trinkets.

It is what the dead close on, finally; I imagine them

Shutting their mouths on it, like a Communion tablet.


The tulips are too red in the first place, they hurt me.

Even through the gift paper I could hear them breathe

Lightly, through their white swaddlings, like an awful baby.

Their redness talks to my wound, it corresponds.

They are subtle: they seem to float, though they weigh me down,

Upsetting me with their sudden tongues and their color,

A dozen red lead sinkers round my neck.


Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.

The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me

Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,

And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow

Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,

And I have no face, I have wanted to efface myself.

The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.


Before they came the air was calm enough,

Coming and going, breath by breath, without any fuss.

Then the tulips filled it up like a loud noise.

Now the air snags and eddies round them the way a river

Snags and eddies round a sunken rust-red engine.

They concentrate my attention, that was happy

Playing and resting without committing itself.


The walls, also, seem to be warming themselves.

The tulips should be behind bars like dangerous animals;

They are opening like the mouth of some great African cat,

And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes

Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me.

The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea,

And comes from a country far away as health.

Joseph Campbell from “The Power of Myth”

“When a judge walks into the room, and everybody stands up, you’re not standing up to that guy, you’re standing up to the robe that he’s wearing and the role that he’s going to play. What makes him worthy of that role is his integrity, as a representative of the principles of that role, and not some group of prejudices of his own. So what you’re standing up to is a mythological character. I imagine some kings and queens are the most stupid, absurd, banal people you could run into, probably interested only in horses and women, you know. But you’re not responding to them as personalities, you’re responding to them in their mythological roles. When someone becomes a judge, or President of the United States, the man is no longer that man, he’s the representative of an eternal office; he has to sacrifice his personal desires and even life possibilities to the role that he now signifies.”

~ Joseph Campbell, “The Power of Myth”

Anne Frank on War

“I don’t believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone are guilty of the war. Oh, no, the little man is just as keen, otherwise the people of the world would have risen in revolt long ago! There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown, will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again.”

~ Anne Frank, “The Diary of a Young Girl – 3 May 1944”

#FavoriteQuotes #AnneFrank