I was saddened to hear of the July 4 suicide of science fiction writer Tom Disch — and I remain saddened. One always wants to say something profound to mark the passing of a gifted writer, but after reading his last Livejournal entry, I have to admit, even yours truly is at a loss for words.
Except to say: he will be missed.
As to his legendary anger, and the inevitable self-examination all serious writers experience when we hear that the load has become too heavy for one of our tribe to bear, I am reminded of Madame de Staël’s astute observation in ON LITERATURE:
So let us rise up under the weight of existence. Let us not give our unjust enemies and ungrateful friends the triumph of having beaten down our intellectual faculties. They reduce people who would have been satisfied with affection to seeking glory; well, then, we have to achieve glory. These ambitious attempts may not remedy the sorrows of the soul, but they will bring honor to life. To devote life to a constantly disappointed hope of happiness is to make it even sadder. It is better to direct one’s efforts to going down the road from youth to death with some degree of nobility, and with reputation.