Sunday, December 28, 2003

Intriguing article by Katha Pollitt in today's New York Times Magazine about author Carolyn Heilbrun's suicide two months ago. (See my entry of October 14, that is if Blogger's Archives function is working). Evidently, Heilbrun had once intended to end her life at age seventy, but delayed until this, her 78th year. She was healthy and active, though lately had found that she no longer enjoyed the work of writers who had always meant the most to her. Did a bout of depression nudge her to check out before the going got any rougher? As Pollitt noted, Heilbrun had often said that if one waits too long to end one's life, one may lose the opportunity.

Ken and I discussed this after returning from a visit to his 84-year-old mother at the nursing home. She suffers from a progressive dementia and is totally incapacitated physically. If one could know in advance that this was the way life would end, we both acknowledged we might choose to avoid it.

I have reread sections of Heilbrun's classic Writing a Woman's Life since her death, but have not dipped into one of her mysteries. A feminist intellectual and mystery writer? Hmmm...


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