I admit that I’m not all that familiar with the writings of Thomas M. Disch. I’ve read a few of his short stories, and I remember enjoying them, and I’m sure I read one of his books at some point. Other than that, nothing. I do know that he was a highly regarded science fiction writer, well liked and well respected by his peers. He wasn’t widely read, which is a shame. But at least one of his books, The Brave Little Toaster, became very popular.
This past weekend, apparently on Independence Day, Disch committed suicide. He’d been depressed for years, and the death of his long term partner Charles Naylor hit him even harder. He was also facing eviction from his rent-controlled apartment. So on Friday, he took his own life.
This got me thinking about writers and depression (because it’s my blog, dammit, and all about me me me), and this news came to me two days after my mom had shown me a book called Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression. Disch’s death certainly demonstrates that being a well regarded and well respected writer in your field, with at least one very popular book, is no proof against depression, loneliness, and despair. Would things have been better for him had he been a much more popular writer? I think it’s safe to say no.
Disch’s death was a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his loved ones and friends, and to anyone else, particularly writers, who might be suffering from such severe depression.