John Steinbeck once said that socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires. (A Short History of Progress, by Ronald Wright, 2004, p.124)
Steinbeck actually said:
Except for the field organizers of strikes, who were pretty tough monkeys and devoted, most of the so-called Communists I met were middle-class, middle-aged people playing a game of dreams. I remember a woman in easy circumstances saying to another even more affluent: "After the revolution even we will have more, won't we, dear?" Then there was another lover of proletarians who used to raise hell with Sunday picnickers on her property. [¶] I guess the trouble was that we didn't have any self-admitted proletarians. Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist. Maybe the Communists so closely questioned by the investigation committees were a danger to America, but the ones I knew—at least they claimed to be Communists—couldn't have disrupted a Sunday-school picnic. Besides they were too busy fighting among themselves. (America and Americans, by John Steinbeck, 1966, p.27)
Know your ending before you start writing.
Brautigan: .44 Magnum
Hemingway: 12-gauge Boss shotgun
Kosiński: head in plastic bag
Plath: head in oven
Thompson: Smith & Wesson 645
Woolf: walked into river w/stones in pockets
Boye: sleeping medication overdose
Chamfort: shot off nose/jaw, stabbed w/paper cutter
Ćopić: jumped off bridge
Crane: jumped off steamship
Levi: jumped into stairwell
Potocki: shot w/silver bullet blessed by priest
Sexton: locked in garage w/car running
Seneca: slit wrists
(Despite mutilating himself so horribly in September, Chamfort didn't die until the following April)
(Potocki was performing a public service - thought he was becoming a werewolf)
Jonker: walked into sea
Mayakovsky: played Russian roulette 3 times, won twice
Tacitus records the elegant suicide of Petronius:
"Yet he did not fling away life with precipitate haste, but having made an incision in his veins and then, according to his humor, bound them up, he again opened them, while he conversed with his friends, not in a serious strain or on topics that might win for him the glory of courage. And he listened to them as they repeated, not thoughts on the immortality of the soul or on the theories of philosophers, but light poetry and playful verses. To some of his slaves he gave liberal presents, a flogging to others. He dined, indulged himself in sleep, that death, though forced on him, might have a natural appearance. Even in his will he did not, as did many in their last moments, flatter Nero or Tigellinus or any other of the men in power. On the contrary, he described fully the prince's shameful excesses, with the names of his male and female companions and their novelties in debauchery, and sent the account under seal to Nero. Then he broke his signet-ring, that it might not be subsequently available for imperiling others."
UPDATE: I just realized I'm not famous enough to commit suicide. Dammit. ;-)
UPDATE 2: Resumé (by Dorothy Parker)
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.