David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace was found dead today. That's too bad, he was an incredibly talented writer. I don't know what type of person he was.

When I was travelling to Mexico I wanted to take along a great big book to read on the buses and in the parks and everywhere so I could be somewhere else but also somewhere inside me. That's reading, right? Anyway, it came down to Ulysses, Infinite Jest, or Gravity's Rainbow. My friend said Infinite Jest was one big intellectual jerk off. That might be true. I chose to read Gravity's Rainbow (I'll figure out what the hell that book was about some time, but it's a book all right). Infinite Jest is a non-fiction book with hundreds of footnotes, some of which could basically be chapters and are phenomenal. Others are the patent for aspirin or some other unnecessary tidbit. But it's his book and it's a helluva book and it's a great book and although I didn't read it in mexico I did read it and I am glad I did. For the record. I almost read it again a few months ago, and if I ever finish Against the Day I might. Now. Maybe. Sad how things like this work sometimes.

However, I also read a book of his essays entitled A Supposedly Fun Thing I Will Never Do Again. The entire book is solid, some essays are better than others as you would expect. The title essay of that book is one of the greatest essays about an activity (taking a cruise) that I have no desire to do, and he perfectly captures exactly what I think a cruise is and why I don't want to do it. I read that essay a handful of times before returning it to the library. If I had it right now, I would read it again. I strongly recommend that particular essay if you want to know how he wrote. Then you can be anti-cruise snobby like me.

It's always sad and a little scary to see a person commit suicide, to know there are demons out there stronger. It happens everyday. Famous people, nobodys, people in between. I wonder sometimes what those demons are like, what it's like to feel that helpless, to lose hope so completely that you choose the eternal abyss before another sunrise. Or another sunset. As much as I complain and I tend toward solitude and negativity, I can't imagine that type of isolation, how the mind could so deny itself. Then again, when I'm healthy I can't really imagine having the flu either.

1 comment:

elblot said...

As much as it pains me to link to The New Republic, they seem to have a collection of his writing up on their website.