S-Sylvia Plath. Help Me Dorothy Dix!#AtoZchallenge

Dear Dorothy Dix,

I’m writing a series of letters to dead poets and Sylvia Plath is next on my list. What should I write?

Although I’ve written some pretty challenging letters already, what do you say to someone who took their life?

We are both mothers of young children. Yet, I am fighting tooth and nail to stay alive, desperately wanting to see my kids grow up. Be there to guide and support their path.

That said, I’ve also had my own dark days, when I’ve succumbed to the black dog. I know it what it’s like when it eats you alive. Perhaps, she couldn’t see any other way out.

Yet, that doesn’t mean I understand.

While she lived with mental illness, so many people tried so hard to save her, but still she slipped away.

It’s only human to ask why but I won’t.

Of course, I’ll greet her with a smile. Offer her a cup of tea. But do I really have to be nice?

What should I do?

Signed,

Baffled.

Newton Family & bilbo

Disease in full swing. This family photo was taken prior to my diagnosis.

 

………….

Dear Baffled,

You need your head read,

raising sleeping poets

from the dead.

You should have left

them alone instead.  

Read a book!

Stayed in bed!

 

How did you like my first attempts at poetry?

What’s done is done.

The best I can suggest is to give Sylvia Plath my Dictates for a Happy Life.

You can’t always save someone from themselves…or the ravages of mental illness. But, never ever give up trying! You never know what might actually make a difference and save a life.

That sounds like a contradiction but there are no simple answers on the trail you’re blazing.

Simply persevere!

Regards,

Dorothy Dix.

Dictates for a Happy Life- Dorothy Dix

First. Make up your mind to be happy. Happiness is largely a matter of self-hypnotism. You can think yourself happy or you can think yourself miserable. It is up to you…learn to find pleasure in simple things. If you can’t go to the opera, you can turn on the radio. Nail on your face the smile that won’t come off, and after a bit you will find that it comes naturally.

Second. Make the best of your lot. Of course, you’re not everything you want and things are not just right. Nobody is that lucky. Even the most fortunate have a lot of crumpled rose leaves under their forty mattresses of ease. There isn’t a single human being who hasn’t plenty to cry over, and the trick is to make the laughs outweigh the tears.

Third. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t think that everything that happens to you is of world-shaking importance and that somehow you should have been protected from the misfortunes that befall other people. When death robs you of one you love, or you lose your job, don’t demand to know of high heaven why this should happen to you and grow rebellious and morbid over your sorrow. We are never happy until we learn to laugh at ourselves.

Fourth. Don’t take other people too seriously. They are not so much, anyway. Don’t let their criticisms worry you. You can’t please everybody, so please yourself. Don’t let your neighbors set your standards for you. Don’t run into debt trying to keep up with the Joneses, or bore yourself to death trying to be as intelligent as the Highbrows. Be yourself and do the things you enjoy doing if you want to be comfortable and happy.

Fifth. Don’t borrow trouble. You have to pay compound interest on that and it will bankrupt you in the end. It is a queer thing, but imaginary troubles are harder to bear than actual ones. There are none of us who have not lain awake at night petrified with dread of some calamity that we feared might befall us and that we felt would shatter our lives if it should occur. Generally it never happened, but if it did, it was not so bad after all and we survived it without serious injury. Enjoy today and let tomorrow take care of itself. There is no sounder adage than that which bids us not to trouble trouble until trouble troubles us. The only good that worrying ever did anyone was make him thin. It is grand for the figure but hard on the disposition.

Sixth. Don’t cherish enmities and grudges. Don’t keep up old quarrels. Don’t remember all the mean things people have done to you. Forget them. Hate is a dreadful chemical that we distill in our own hearts, that poisons our own souls. It takes all the joy out of life and hurts us far worse than it does anyone else. There is nothing so depressing as having a grudge against someone. Nothing makes a home so miserable as for the family not to be on good terms. Meeting someone you don’t speak to will spoil any party. So if you have an enemy, forgive him and kiss on both cheeks, not for his sake but simply because it is to making you unhappy and uncomfortable to be stirred up in wrath against him.

Seventh. Keep in circulation. Go around and meet people. Belong to clubs. Travel as much as you can. Have as many interests as possible. Have hosts of friends. That is the way to keep yourself cheerful and jolly and thinking that this is the best of all possible worlds.

Eighth. Don’t hold post-mortems. Don’t spend your life brooding over the mistakes you have made or the sorrows that have befallen on you. What is done is done and cannot be changed, but you can have your whole future life in which to make good. Not all the tears can bring back those we have lost, but we can make life miserable for ourselves and those about us by our unavailing weeping. Quit beating upon your breast because you haven’t as much money as you used to have. Don’t be one of those who never get over things. Have the courage to take misfortune on the chin and come up smiling.

Ninth. Do something for somebody less fortunate than yourself. Minister to other people’s trouble and you will forget your own. Happiness is a coin that we keep only when we give it away.

Tenth. Keep busy. That is the sovereign remedy for unhappiness. Hard work is a panacea for trouble. You never saw a very busy person who was unhappy.

Violin rose

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “S-Sylvia Plath. Help Me Dorothy Dix!#AtoZchallenge

  1. cindy knoke

    Silvia had a really shitty husband, even if he was England’s poet laureate. She also didn’t have the best parents. What she did have in spades was talent, and the courage to set it free. I will always love her.
    I love that you are thinking about her, and writing about her.

  2. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Cindy. I have really grappled with the dark side writing this series and I wouldn’t be able to do that if I wasn’t in a good place. Writing to a dead poet a dead and some days even two, I am really having to push the pace but thanks to Google have been able to find details pretty quickly. It’s interesting when you put Ted and Sylvia beside Oscar Wilde and his wife Constance. She fled to Italy with their sons and changed their name to Holland but she personally travelled to prison to tell Oscar that his mother had died. They never divorced and she paid him an allowance at least some of the time after the trial. That intrigues me just as Roald Dahl’s tenacity. Sylvia Plath’s suicide definitely challenges me, even though I’ve known the dark side myself. I’ll be posting my letter to Sylvia later today. I’m also doing Dorothy Parker. It was writing to her that sparked the idea of using Dorothy Dix, which allowed me to ease my way into Sylvia Plath.
    Hope you’re having a great week and thanks for popping by and your encouragement!
    xx Rowena

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  4. roweeee Post author

    Thanks so much. I was really stoked to find that list. It’s definitely something to put of the fridge…not to be ignored but to really take them in.

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