Wednesday, May 10, 2006


'This impasse was strengthened by [Adrienne] Rich's other vocation: marriage and motherhood. It was ironic, she later commented, that the only detail she could remember about conversations with Sylvia Plath that spring was Plath's curiosity about combining motherhood and writing. "I answered something very sage, like, 'It can be done, but you'd better think about it really hard.' What I wanted to tell her was 'Don't try,' because I was in such despondency: I'd just had my third child, I was thirty, and I felt that in many ways my life was over, that I would never write again. I couldn't forsee a future different from the past two years of raising children and being almost continuously angry."

Anne Sexton: A Biography, Diane Middlebrook


Unknown said...

When I was in grad school, a male prof who's over 50, has a commuter-marriage, and no children told many of us that if we ever had children, our writing would be done for. I was insulted, and pregnant the next year. He was one person I dreaded telling because I didn't want him to lose faith in me. I rarely do write these days--the result of being a single parent, an instructor, and taking care of a 2 year old. But I have no doubt that parenting and writing can be done because people all around me do it successfully. Various responsibilities can of course interfere, but rather than let them consume all of a person's time, I guess one has to make writing one of those responsibilities and don't treat herself like a victim of parenting. Of course, it's easier said than done sometimes, as both Plath and Sexton verify. I write in very sporadic spells, but for me, that's better than doing nothing at all. I have noted, and accepted, that others have a more impressive drive when it comes to writing than I do.

Glad you posted this. I haven't read the biography but am interested to do so now.

Unknown said...

I've heard this bio is really good--I've been wanting to read it for some time but you know, so much to read and not enought time. Appreciate this excerpt though, it's refreshed my interest in reading the book.

michi said...

you may want to read this interview with the wonderful ros barber.

gina said...


There is life after so much intensity (and boredom). Be ready for it. It's overwhelmingly dull. (You're doing all things right and well.)On the other side you'll wonder what the rest of us have done with ourselves.



Suzanne said...

Of course, you're right, G. Summer is around the corner, J will have his summer break and all the scattered brain cells will come together again. In September everything changes--one will go off to nursery school, the other will give up her morning nap and the cabin fever will dissipate.

Knowing that AR once felt this way, AR who went on to accomplish *everything*, is comforting, as well as, fascinating.

I'm glad others want to pick up the biography--it's a good one and in a lot of ways it's a social commentary about a particular time.