Anonymous asked: Did any of the beat figures commit suicide?
Poet Elise Cowen jumped out of a seven story window at the age of 29. (And someone should really reprimand me for not posting any of her work on here yet. I know there is some in the queue; I really need to publish it.)
Natalie Jackson, one of “Neal’s girls” (as described in Minor Characters), committed suicide in a near-identical manner: only a few hours after talking with Jack Kerouac about the nature of life, she, too, jumped out of a window. She is depicted as “Rosie” in Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums.
Another gun-related suicide was Richard Brautigan’s. (Again, my apologies for not posting much, if any, of his work here!) His suicide note read, “Messy, isn’t it?” He was 49 years old at the time.
Hunter S. Thompson also killed himself via gunshot to the head. Many believe he ended his life not from depression but to escape the pain of his various medical problems or the monotony of his late age. He was, as his note read, “17 years past 50” (67 years old).
And one could argue in some respects that Jack Kerouac killed himself. He was popularly quoted saying, “I’m Catholic and I can’t commit suicide, but I plan to drink myself to death.” And indeed, at only 47, he began coughing up blood and soon after died the “drunk’s death” from cirrhosis at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Apologies for the delayed response and hope this is enough information!