Sunday, September 4, 2011

30 More Days Book Challenge: Day 26

Day 26: An Author We Wish Weren't So Dead


I think it would be nice if Emily Dickinson had another go at it. Oh wait, are you thinking what I'm thinking? Reality show? 

I think it would be great to have good, old Flannery O'Connor back; she didn't write enough for me, although I do enjoy multiple readings of her stories. Plus, I don't think she would be too keen on this modern world. 

The second author that I thought of is Andre Dubus II.   I have read everything he has written (less one novel) and really crave more essays, or a memoir. His writing can absolutely take my breath away. I  felt his writing got better as he got older; he certainly became more spiritual.  Meditations from a Moveable Chair  (essays) and Dancing After Hours (stories) are my two favorites. I wish Dubus were more widely read; I don't run into very many people that love him they way I do (except you, Jenn Burgess). 

 Part of the beauty of Dubus is discovering his life through his books, so I won't divulge too much, but there was a lovely piece written by his friend Richard Ravin a few years ago. Here is a sample:

"Andre began the writing workshop after the accident that cost him his legs, and it ran for 12 years until a week before he died. He never charged a fee, even when he was hard up for cash. He felt companionable with writers, loved hearing our complaints and shared his own, loved hearing about our successes as though something good had happened in the family. Putting money to that would ruin the music."

If you care to see the  full piece in, it is here.


I like Gianna's idea for a dead author reality show--maybe something like The Bachelorette, where 30 other dead authors try to woo the Belle of Amhurst.  Can you imagine the one-on-one date for Emily Dickinson and Norman Mailer?  

I'm actually not sure who to pick for this category.  I don't think it's fair to choose someone who lived too far back because our world isn't the same as, say, Shakespeare's.  The topic also suggests that we pick someone who died too soon, who didn't complete his/her body of work.  I'm sort of at a loss.  However, there is a writer I wanted to pick for yesterday's category (author with whom you want to have a drink), but couldn't because he's, tragically, deceased.  That author is Spalding Gray.

Gray was a performance artist, actor, and writer, a brilliant one.  I imagine what sitting in a pub with him would be like.  Spalding would entertain an intimate gathering of about five people with stories about his life and they would be full of his humor and poignancy and warmth.  He would talk for hours and we wouldn't notice the time passing.  Tragically, it is not to be.  The author of Swimming to Cambodia succumbed to his depression struggles and committed suicide.  

We have been given a last work of Gray's in his inimitable voice.  Later this year, Knopf will publish The Journals of Spalding Gray, offering final insights into the author's thoughts and stories.  Here is a book to eagerly anticipate; sadly there won't be another.


  1. Hi Liz, thanks so much for referencing my article about Andre. Just found out the link address has changed. If you want to, be good if you could go in and revise so readers won't end up at a dead link. Great to know folks still read him and care about him as I do. New link below.

    BTW - Ravin, not Raven.

  2. Thanks for the heads-up Dick! I will make the corrections and fix the spelling on your name. Sorry about that. The fact checker is a 25 lb cat.