February 2, 2015

In the Tradition of #MyOzObituary


In the tradition of #MyOzObituary: I wrote this quite a while back after reading a particularly infuriating biography of Virginia Woolf.

The Biography of a Great Woman Author by a Man

Her grandfather was a successful merchant who rose from poverty in the bookbinding trade.  His family worked night and day.  His son, her father, was raised in a country house, and his father’s wealth allowed him to go to good schools.  He became a man of some intellectual and financial position through scholarships and marriage.  He arranged for her to marry young into a family of good breeding, though poor.  Her father-in-law and husband descended from a long line of royalty.  Her husband was a well-known poet, whom we may remember from the poem “The Death of the Little Drummer Boy.”

he beat
retreat
in heat
concrete

Her husband also drank, which was caused by her descent into madness.  Their only child, a son, was born early in the marriage and would grow up to resent her mad poetry about him as a baby.  Soon, her husband left her for another woman, and her madness grew.  Her husband, now ex, had to rescue her from suicide attempts.  Finally, though, her madness took over, and her death by drowning/pills/shotgun came on April 1, 19XX.    This compelled her husband to get clean and to burn all her diaries.  Then, full of sorrow, he published a posthumous collected edition of all of her writing, which became famous and made a lot of money.  Her estate set up her son to become a successful breeder of thoroughbred race horses, and his three-year-old mare “Man Down” went to the semi-semi-semifinal round in 19XX.

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