Colleen McCullough was Australia’s best-selling author, a novelist of towering skill who produced such highly respected works as The Thorn Birds and An Indecent Obsession. She died on January 29, 2015 at the age of 77.
Ms. McCullough was a chain smoker who routinely pounded out 15,000 words a day and, on a good day, a mind-blowing 30,000 words. She continued to work on an electric typewriter well into the computer age and it is said that she was so good at spelling and grammar that she needed almost no editing.
But perhaps the most attention she ever got came on the day her obituary hit the papers. People all across the world reacted to these words:
Plain of feature and certainly overweight, she was, nevertheless, a woman of wit and warmth.
Let me just take this opportunity to say that I hope the person who writes my obituary keeps my looks out of it. I can just see it now: Plain of feature and certainly as bald as a billiard ball, he was…
But I must confess…I like that word “nevertheless” in Ms. McCullough’s obit. Whatever perceived shortcomings someone thought she had in the looks department, she apparently made up for it with warmth and wit. Let us remember that her obituary could have read as follows:
Spectacular of feature and with a beautifully toned body, she was, nevertheless, a person nobody could stand to be around.
What a great reminder for all of us that it’s what we are, not what we look like, that matters.