Here's another "secret" from my book.
In writing the book, I had no intention of making a connection of military service, war or Veterans to Sylvia Plath or her life. I did not believe this would have any place in my topic, writing, or in the life of Plath. Indeed, I work five days each week in an intense fashion with Veterans, discussing trauma and distress. I very much wanted to separate this work from my book writing, "apart from my VA job", if you will. Fortunately, as the gift of serendipity would have it, as I researched and wrote, I discovered a wealth of connection of Plath's life with the military, war and Veterans. It seemed, no matter how hard I tried to avoid or ignore it, the true spirit of Plath's life was leading me towards rather than away from the military. Ultimately, I chose to accept and then embrace it and see it as an essential part of the book. I discovered a beautiful report Sylvia wrote in elementary school about WWI. What an innocent yet very intelligent view of the ugliness of war! I discovered from Sylvia not just her dislike and protest for war, but also her deep appreciation, sympathy and positive regard for the human beings who served their country. It was a Christian approach reflecting her Unitarian teaching. It was the empathy and perhaps angst of knowing boys her age, some of whom she may have dated, who went to war in Korea. Also, I was truly amazed to learn about Ted Hughes' father's military service and about the complex, trauma-filled, sad, and adventuous experiences of "Mad Jack" Sassoon. Almost without thought, as I wrote, I found myself capitalizing the word "Veteran," as my own private and personal, internal protest surfaced against disrespect, hatred, ignorance, selfishness, and hurt done by some toward or against those who have given time and space from their life to their country. Yes, I was truly led, initially against my will, to incorporate the gift of my 19 years of clinical work and experience at the VA (and my even more personal, 4 years of USN experience) into "Trauma and the Golden Lady." To this day, I wonder to what degree I was being led by Sylvia or the Spirit of all life. It was another of the many lessons that teach me to remain humble and listen and be ready to follow a "greater voice." Sometimes what we want or insist on may not be best and, if we're open to inspiration and intuition, we may find something awesome, beyond our wildest dreams or imagination. What a gift life may come to be!