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Death of WritersPosted Tuesday, September 11, 2012, at 2:21 PM
Writing is a very risky business. You have to expose your soul to the world, then look at yourself in the mirror when the world fails to embrace your thoughts.
Ernest Hemingway, American Author (1899 - 1961) -- Committed suicide, shooting himself with his favorite shotgun.
Edgar Allen Poe, American Author (1809 - 1849) -- A drug-addicted drunkard, he was found lying unconscious on a street in Baltimore, wearing someone else's tattered clothes, and died a couple of days later in a hospital where he had remained incoherent as to what had happened to him.
Virginia Woolf, British Author (1882 - 1941) -- Was depressed, filled the pockets of her overcoat with stones and walked into the River Ouse where her body was discovered several days later.
Tennessee Williams, American Playwright (1911 - 1983) -- Choked to death on a bottle cap in a hotel room in New York. Barbiturates were found nearby in the room.
Jerzy Kosinski, Polish-American Author (1933 - 1991) -- Committed suicide by placing a plastic bag over his head and suffocating to death. His suicide note read, "I am going to put myself to sleep now for a bit longer than usual. Call it Eternity."
John O'Brien, American Author (1960 - 1994) -- Committed suicide by gunshot two weeks after the movie rights to his novel, LEAVING LAS VEGAS, were sold.
Anne Sexton, American Poet (1928 - 1974) -- A Pulitzer Prize winning poet who committed suicide after returning home from a luncheon engagement by donning her mother's old fur coat, removing all her rings, drinking a glass of vodka, locking herself in her garage and starting the engine of her car. Death by carbon monoxide poisoning.
John Berryman, American Poet (1914 - 1972) -- Having been hospitalized many times for depression and alcohol detox, he committed suicide by jumping from the Washington Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis into the Mississippi River.
Seth Morgan, American Author (1949 - 1990) -- The heir to the Ivory Soap fortune whose fiance at the time of his death was singer Janis Joplin, was arrested for DUI in New Orleans. The next day, he rode his motorcycle into a cement embankment below a New Orleans Bridge, with a high blood-alcohol level and cocaine in his system.
Leo Tolstoy, Russian Author (1828 - 1910) -- Gave away his wealth and abandoned his family to become a spiritual hermit whereupon he soon became ill at a railroad station and died shortly thereafter.
Vachel Lindsay, American Poet (1879 - 1931) -- Depressed by failing health and financial woes, he committed suicide by drinking a bottle of lye. His last words were, "They tried to get me -- I got them first."
Maxwell Bodenheim, American Author (1893 - 1954) -- Known as the King of the Greenwich Village Bohemians, he and his wife were murdered by an insane dishwasher in a room they were sharing a few blocks from the Bowery. Maxwell was shot twice in the chest, while his wife was beaten and stabbed four times in the back. The dishwasher later confessed, "I ought to get a medal. I killed two Communists."
Sergei Yesenin, Russian Poet (1895 - 1925) -- An alcoholic who suffered a mental breakdown and was hospitalized for two months. Two days after his release, he slit his wrist, wrote a farewell poem in his own blood, then hanged himself in his hotel room in Leningrad. The title of his final poem was DO SVIDANIA DRUG MOI which translates to "Goodbye my friend."
Hart Crane, American Poet (1899 - 1932) -- A heavy drinker suffering bouts of depression, he was en route from Mexico to New York on a steamship where he had been beaten after making sexual advances toward a male crew member. He had been drinking heavily and jumped overboard, shouting, "Good-bye everybody" as he fell into the Gulf of Mexico.
Richard Brautigan, American Author (1835 - 1984) -- While living alone in a large house overlooking the Pacific Ocean, he died from a self-inflicted .44 Magnum gunshot wound to the head. He body was not discovered until several weeks later. The suicide note simply read, "Messy, isn't it?"
For some, writing is therapy.
For others, writing is a long good-bye.
Quote for the Day -- "Writing a novel is like making love, but it's also like having a tooth pulled. Pleasure and Pain." Dean Koontz
Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books, including THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY and 11:11 EARTH TIME (available on Amazon). He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where the true Art of Writing is creating something that will be read twice.
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Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist for The News (2001-2007) and author of four novels. He has lived in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and the middle of the Arizona desert. After a life of blood, sweat and tears in big cities, he has finally found peace in northern Arkansas where he grows tomatoes, watches sunsets and occasionally shares the Secrets of the Universe (and beyond) with the rest of the world.