As you can see for yourselves: http://www.moonflowersnserendipity.com/Travel/Burgundy/31226211_mFt4nB#!i=2702253428&k=fsTvDsb
But it's time to come back to earth and get on with life. Even reluctantly. And so to books...
Well, not much has been going on there. I did take books with me on my travels. And they were comforting to behold. Still, they never stayed out of the bag for too long.
These were hot, steamy, summer days. When we stopped, we slept. Basically because we didn't have the energy to do otherwise. When we moved, we were eating and drinking and tasting. And generally perspiring profusely. Conditions not conducive to books and paper and concentration.
Before I left, at the start of my time off work, I did read James and the Giant Peach. Just because nothing else would go in. And I really, really needed a frivolous tale and a happy ending. To which James answered perfectly.
But on my return home, Sylvia Plath was waiting for me. The Bell Jar. Not exactly holiday reading, of course. And certainly not the happiest of books. But then mental health issues are not meant to bring happiness methinks. Just possibly understanding. And a little of that would go a long way today...
TBJ makes for a powerful read. More shocking than anything. Scary too. Although unfortunately not totally unfamiliar. SP describes with frightening clarity the pain of a soul in torment. A soul misunderstood, losing control. Lost. Esther Greenwood - whose spends a year "in the bell jar" - presents her case without pomp or ceremony. Taking you along with her. And making no apologies for the bumps and discomfort that follow. Offering little explanation. Barely bewailing her fate. Just giving you the experience.
Esther increasingly isolates herself as her tale unfolds. Rejects all help, affection and love to the extent possible. And thereby the bell jar descends. You can really feel this odd sense of distance permeating her account. Distance from others, from reality, from the life she is attempting to get to grips with. Other people remain very much in the background of her existence. Her family. Her friends. Her colleagues, sponsors. Surrounding her. Part of her life. Yet cut off from her by her own inability to function. That said, their pain and frustration remain tangible somehow.
The end brings little joy. The worst seems to have past, but there's little to convince that this is truly so. And yet such is life. For some more than others. One long struggle after another.
I read that this book was very much a shock to audiences when it first came out. Possibly because such things weren't talked about, or even imagined, in those days. Possibly because they were just hidden away. Today, I think it may be less shocking, but the whole remains equally uncomfortable. And sad. Just sad.
This was certainly a strange note on which to end my holidays. Of the reality of life. And its ups and downs. And why it's so very important to hold on tight to those ups. And all those who bring them...