In Good Sentences
It is currently 2020—57 years after Sylvia Plath’s death in 1963—and yet she is still one of the most widely discussed writers today. Plath is now stereotyped as the quintessence for the depressed teenage girl because she wrote poems about heartbreak and depression and died by suicide after hearing that her husband was unfaithful. But in reality, Plath was, and is, one of the few writers who was able to transform her dark emotions into beauty. And as one of the forefront writers of her conservative generation, she was also most definitely a feminist.
When reading Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar and poems, I usually have an odd, almost out-of-body experience in which a total stranger somehow seems to understand my thoughts well enough to articulate them beautifully, to transform them into art. Yet if I tell someone how much I adore her, people sometimes look at me condescendingly, as if they already know me and the love-obsessed female stereotype they believe that I embody. I wanted to show how Plath writing about love was part of her gift and how she was so much more than her misleading legacy.
Meet the Pair
MENTEE GABRIELLE GALCHEN & MENTOR EMILY BARASCH
Gabrielle’s Anecdote: It was the beginning of junior year and I figured that from then on only one adjective could ever truly describe me: stressed. In a STEM-based society, I was addicted to creative writing and, unlike virtually everyone else in my grade, I had absolutely no idea how I would fit what I loved into a feasible reality. I arrived at the café that my mentor Emily and I always met at with a smile plastered on my face, excited to see her but worried about authenticating my “I’m good, thanks,” when she would ask me how I was doing. But whether I knew it or not, Emily could sense how I was feeling. Our conversation deviated from what genres I wanted to pursue to the subject I was most dreading: the future. Giving examples, Emily talked about how writers can take many different paths in life, whether it be writing full-time or as a secondary job, but how, most of all, I would always first and foremost be a writer. Such an integral part of my life could never be removed from me, and time, contrary to pressuring me, would only help unveil more of who I was. I left the café content with the fresh anticipation of uncertainty, grateful that my mentor understood my mind in a way no one else could.
Emily’s Anecdote: If working together with Gabi in Girls Write Now last year was about finding her voice, this year has been about her exploring new, complex, and unique ways of expressing it. From playwriting to poetry to podcasting, Gabi has challenged herself and come out on the other side with brilliant work, tenacity, and wisdom that surpasses her years. I also particularly revel in the way her work can emotionally move me, from a genuinely terrifying (and riveting) play to more candid and heartfelt work.
Half Israeli and half American, Gabrielle Galchen will never quite fit in except for when she writes, when she belongs solely to herself and feels the most complete. As a senior in high school, writing is her objective way to make sense of the world and find herself. She is so honored to participate in a program in which she can pursue her passion; Girls Write Now has truly made her high school experience.