Toasting Thomas M. Disch – Jeff Baker, Boogieman in Lavender

Jeff Baker

Lives are short. Literary lives even shorter. When a writer dies, of course, their output stops; there are no new books or stories being produced. Their memory fades from public consciousness. Prolific writers like L. Sprague De Camp, Edward D. Hoch, even Isaac Asimov to a degree are in the process of being forgotten; their novels not reprinted, their stories not anthologized in favor of newer, trendier writers. Such is the case with one of our own, Thomas  M. Disch, writer of science fiction and fantasy; creator of The Brave Little Toaster, and a man who would possibly rather be remembered as a poet. Disch died in 2008 and though he hasn’t faded from memory the memory is not as green as it had been.

Disch was openly gay, although he didn’t really promote that fact. There is a gay sensibility to his novel “On Wings of Song” and in some of the poetry, but he claimed he did not write “gay literature.” Still, he couldn’t complain about his career; he won awards for his fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Much of that work is available if the reader will look around.

And then there’s his blog; “Endgame” where Disch posted poetry and increasingly dark ramblings about life, especially after the death of his partner Charles Naylor who was also a poet. Disch decided to take his own life on July 4, 2008.

Best to end by letting Disch’s poetry represent itself. Here’s part of his “Ode to a Blizzard”

O! Wonderful for weight and whiteness!
Ideolog whose absolutes
Are always proven right
By white and then
More white and white again,
Winning the same argument year
After year by making the opposition
Disappear!

Called “one of the hottest authors in the independent horror scene” by Hellbound Books; Jeff Baker blogs about writing and reading sci-fi, horror and fantasy and other sundry matters around the thirteenth of each month. He lives with his husband Darryl Thompson (and a toaster) in Wichita, Kansas. His story “The Bob Show” will be in the upcoming anthology “Spoon, Knife 3; Incursions.” He posts fiction on his blog http://authorjeffbaker.com, and can be reached on Facebook at Jeff Baker, Author.

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