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Thomas Disch and Paying the Rent

Last livejournal posts of sci fi writer Thomas Disch before committing suicide. (here’s a boingboing discussion)

Here’s a poem by him:

The Art of Dying

Mallarmé drowning
Chatterton coughing up his lungs
Auden frozen in a cottage
Byron expiring at Missolonghi
and Hart Crane visiting Missolonghi and dying there too

The little boot of Sylvia Plath wedged in its fatal stirrup
Tasso poisoned
Crabbe poisoned
T.S. Eliot raving for months in a Genoa hospital before he died
Pope disappearing like a barge in a twilight of drugs

The execution of Marianne Moore
Pablo Neruda spattered against the Mississippi
Hofmannsthal’s electrocution
The quiet painless death of Robert Lowell
Alvarez bashing his bicycle into an oak

The Brownings lost at sea
The premature burial of Thomas Gray
The baffling murder of Stephen Vincent Benét
Stevenson dying of dysentery
and Catullus of a broken heart

— Tom Disch

I don’t know the circumstances of this, except to say he had been having some life problems.  Writers make sacrifices for their art,  and often they lose sight of  practical concerns.  They often just don’t care. It’s pretty tragic though that a writer tries suicide after popping  back into the real world and realizing–whoa!–  he can’t pay his rent.  Oh, yes, occasionally they care (deeply) about huge social problems. Global warming, war, totalitarianism. And many kinds of writers have to be good listeners and observers. What makes them different are  priorities.  They (we) are stubborn, irascible, sensual, lazy, libertarian, delusional, insecure,  ambitious, moralistic (and immoral!), loyal, hypercritical, fun-loving, assertive,  accepting, curious, uncompromising, otherworldly,  anti-romantic, hopeful,  absurdist, adventurous, timid, lowkey and hungry. Very hungry.

In a somewhat related note, I need to clean my apartment! I keep putting it off, and now I  finally noticed what a wreck it is.

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