brothercyst: WHICH LIFE?

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I'm supine in bed with my laptop in an empty apartment, gnawing a large chunk of chocolate I got at Brooklyn Larder (they're cheap and they last a long time). Thinking about how I can get through today without spending any money at all, except for a drink later. I had an amazing dream that was a fully-formed narrative last night. Involved being trapped in a labyrinthine mansion, menaced by enigmatic older brunettes and a ten-year-old with an axe. Woke up with a euphoric jolt around 2:30 to write it all down.

Perhaps you saw the article in the most recent New Yorker about F. Scott Fitzgerald's miserable final years in/around Hollywood. I just wrote an email that made me think about writers whose lives I really wouldn't want to have had. Off the top of my head--
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Dostoevsky
  • Proust
  • Marquis de Sade
  • Hemingway
And those whose lives I would want to have had.
  • Nabokov (this is almost the only person in history about whom, if you said, "Want to give up your life and have his?" I would say yes)
  • James Salter
  • Thomas Malory
  • Orwell
  • Hemingway
Thoughts? What writer's life would you most like to have, or dread having?

I just realized there are no women on my list. Hmm.


C Morris said...

Hemingway made both lists?

Bestsellerdom; respect from both genre fans and literary circles; success with novels, short fiction, and essays; a nice brownstone in NY that includes shelves full of first editions and loads of jazz LPs; social life spent with S King and Neil Gaiman, among others: I'll take Peter Straub's life, thanks.

Miss Topanga said...

I lead the life of bukowski. just less vagina.

and i hope it's okay i mentioned you in my last movie review.

maybe you can guess which movie it is? ;)

alan rossi said...

ha, that's great hemingway's on both. his final years definitely would not be pleasant.

i agree with salter, yes. i would say i wouldn't want jane bowles life, it seemed strenuous.

i'd be interested in being melville, possibly cormac mccarthy from those early days.

Anonymous said...

Idol of mine, hope my life turns out better than his: Tom Disch.

N A said...

Wow, good call on Peter Straub. He's a voracious guy. I'd be him. I met his wife at Readercon--she was awesome, too.

Topanga, of course I don't mind. Thanks! I would think you live a life with more vagina than Bukowski (since he didn't have one, he really can't compete, no matter how true Women was).

Salter just seems to live a life of elevated hedonism. Seems to have made his own life a personal myth.

Tom Disch--I don't know much about his life except that the very end wasn't good, and that Crowley and many others loved him.

pb said...

I would not like to have lived Jean Rhys's life. Her bio had me stop reading bios for a decade.

In this moment (meaning I get to change my mind later tonight), I'd like to be Patricia Highsmith. Living with a loving partner in the middle of goddamn nowhere, completely disconnected from the "literary world".

Little Miss Nomad said...

Yeah, there aren't a hell of a lot of women writers who I'd want to be, what with many of the good ones prior to this century being housebound and crazy. If forced, I think I'd pick Mary Shelley and George Sand. Sand got to live in gorgeous Mallorca with Chopin and Shelley, despite her misfortunes, was pretty cool and married well. In the present day, I'd kill to be Zadie Smith.

I would not have wanted to be Kafka.

Ken Baumann said...

I second the Hemingway & Hemingway notion.