Write Something, Even If It’s Just a Suicide Note

Gore Vidal? Lucinda Ebersole? Rand B. Lee? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Aspiring authors are typically told to set aside enough time to make writing into a daily habit. The provocative author Gore Vidal apparently employed an extreme version of this injunction:

Write something, even if it’s just a suicide note.

Did Vidal coin this astringently comical remark?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match known to QI appeared in “The Fitzhenry & Whiteside Book of Quotations” in 1986: 1

Write something, even if it’s just a suicide note. Anon.

The creator was unidentified and no citation was provided. An identical entry appeared in the 1987 successor volume “Barnes & Noble Book of Quotations” from the same editor Robert I. Fitzhenry. 2

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order including evidence that Gore Vidal did use the expression. Continue reading Write Something, Even If It’s Just a Suicide Note

Notes:

  1. 1986, The Fitzhenry & Whiteside Book of Quotations, Revised and Enlarged, Edited by Robert I. Fitzhenry, Section: Writers and Writing, Quote Page 388, Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited, Toronto. (Verified on paper)
  2. 1987, Barnes & Noble Book of Quotations: Revised and Enlarged, Edited by Robert I. Fitzhenry, Section: Writers and Writing, Quote Page 388, Barnes & Noble Books, Division of Harper & Row, New York. (Verified on paper)