I wish Janet Malcolm would have to add an appendix to Silent Woman for every new installment of Hughes and Plath biography mess.* This latest bit reminded me that it is LESS THAN TEN YEARS until the trunk gets opened in Ted Hughes’ archive at Emory, the one that he packed himself that’s locked off until 2023, and how much I sincerely hope that I’m not struck down before that happens because I have SO MANY THEORIES about what is in there.** After that you can put me on an ice floe and send me off. (Also think one of the two lost Plath journal notebooks is going to show up some time in the next decade—either in that trunk or from some Assia Wevill relative or if the house in Devon is ever fully unpacked. And then everyone’s going to have to REWRITE everything.)
Related: Was thinking last night about biography and how brutal it can be in its assessments. Someone was described this way in the one I’m reading: “Often dressed in yellow, her favorite color, Rose was soon known as a passable if gloomy poet and indifferent author of short stories…” Her husband: “George, a conventional and reasonably prolific author, was known as a drunk.” It really makes you lie in bed and stare at the ceiling for a while.
* Anne Stevenson in her study, tapping out a long consoling email to Jonathan Bate.
** If it turns out to just be some elaborate astrological charts and Leonard Baskin doodles and Shakespeare genealogies, how disappointing—and funny.
I’m enjoying that phone conversations with my mom are my main conduit to what’s happening at the Olympics. “Both routines were beautiful. One was to the music from that ballet… you know the one with the evil swan. The other one was to ‘Scheherazade.”
Good news, forgetful witches! You might have spaced out on it yesterday and only remembered when you were falling asleep last night, but there are still TWO MORE DAYS to celebrate the Roman festival of Lupercalia.
Skipping this part this year.
Whenever I need to make myself laugh I think of the time my friend Ben got a slight concussion from falling off a car while playing ‘Starsky & Hutch grab-ass’ and the ER doctor, writing him a prescription later, asked him if he had any allergies and Ben said, “Yes, salmon.” I offer this on the off chance that you happen to be a young patrician Luperci who might later today, after being anointed with sacrificial blood “wiped off the bloody knife with wool soaked in milk,” be “expected to smile and laugh.” That can be awkward.
"Perhaps the greatest sea serpentologist of all times was Antoon Cornelis Oudemans, a Dutchman who was by training an entomologist, specializing in acarology, the study of mites and ticks."
— Aie, so much there there. But mostly I like the idea that if everyone were to rank their favorite sea serpentologists, Antoon Cornelis Oudemans would top most people’s lists but not EVERYONE’s and so “perhaps.”