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Tuesday, September 26, 2006



Artistic tragedies that bug me:

Antonia White stalled on her fifth novel and never broke through her block.

Charles Laughton's Night of the Hunter bombed so badly he never directed another film.

Mozart died halfway through writing his requiem.

What bugs you?

(Incidentally, don't bother looking up Antonia White on wikipedia if you haven't heard of her; the article is full of mistakes. She wrote, FYI: Frost in May, The Lost Traveller, The Sugar House and Beyond the Glass, and they are extraordinary.)


The fact that the 1937 adaptation of "I Claudius" was never finished due to assorted reasons, an only a few filmed bits survive of what could have become Charles Laughton's greatest performance.

The fact that Sergei Eisenstein was never able to direct the third part of "Ivan the Terrible"

The early death of Egon Schiele.
1) Book 4 of the Dark Tower series turning into 600 pages of backstory.
2) Not enough quality space sci-fi movies ala Alien/Aliens.
3) The Harry Potter series turning into 700+ page tomes.
4) The TV shopw Firefly being cancelled after one season. I hate TV, and the one thing I love is killed.
5) And lastly, I regreat that all modern radio jazz sounds alike.
My big three are:

1) The only complete manuscript of Sappho's poems is supposed to have been destroyed by the Vatican during the 14th century or thereabouts, on the grounds that it was sinful. All we have left are fragments, and she was the greatest poet of her era.

2) Dickens died in the middle of writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which, even in its unfinished state, is my personal favourite of his works and which I think would have marked a whole new development in his writing.

3) Harper Lee, who once said that she wanted to be "The Jane Austen of small-town American life", hit a massive case of writer's block after To Kill a Mockingbird, and never got over it.

And if I'm allowed one more...

4) When Emily Bronte was dying, she burned the unfinished manuscript of her second novel.

This is all very sad. Entirely my own fault for soliciting regrets. Sorry.
I don't know if you'll ever read this, but I can't let this question hang in space, with a place to answer, without saying this:

Nick Drake. Three brilliant albums. Dead before thirty. Breaks my heart.
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