According to reports, Thomas M. Disch, published author and Clarion teacher, has died in an apparent suicide.
The first thing that came to mind when I read this–first on Nihilistic_Kid’s LJ and then on Ellen Datlow’s–was the poem/advertisement that I read a few days ago on my friendslist, posted on Tom Disch’s LJ (or at least I believed it was his LJ).
I copied it off into one of my Poems By Others files because I thought it was so clever. Now I am thinking perhaps it was a clue. A hint. A sign. Note the first LINE of the poem/ad (asterisks my annotation.)
Is Thomas Disch the Right God for You?
***Once a mortal, soon to be in Heaven***, I may be
your best chance to distinguish yourself
as someone specially Blessed and bound for Glory
without going to a lot of trouble or expense.
The Scripture is out there now
[The Word of God, Tachyon Press, $14.95],
proclaiming my Divinity and promising Salvation.
So why not declare yourself a believer Now
and reap all the associated Tax Advantages?
I took it in a Vonnegutian sense, but maybe it was somewhat of a clue. However, we were not friends and had never met, so I couldn’t exactly do nothin’ no matter what. Except *sigh*.
I tell you what . . . I can’t get my mind around it, because the Ne Plus Ultra of life would be to become A PUBLISHED AUTHOR. Sainthood would be the only other goal of my life. If I were a PUBLISHED AUTHOR, why would I ever consent to die? I can’t imagine being unhappy. I can’t see this except in extremis, even as a non-published failure. But of course these are the naive whinings of someone who didn’t feel the pain that he felt, and that pain became unbearable. This was his solution. We must accept it.
So now I can do no more than mourn, and say: Fare thee well, and have a safe journey to the Other Side.
Algis Budrys was probably waving at him from the Light. That’s how they get you to come, you know–they send somebody they know you want to see again, and before you know it, you’ve crossed that un-re-crossable line and you’re happy on the Other Side, and we are left to mourn.