DFW

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So Wallace committed suicide on 9/12.  Hung himself.

The number of posthumous appraisals written in the short time between then and now is staggering.

Tried keeping up for a bit, but good luck.

If you’re wondering why all the fuss, there’s an exhaustive catalogue of what’s been written so far here.  Dig in.

My personal favorite, by far, was the live eulogy performed by the Available Light crew (plus special guest, Artie Isaac, whose thoughts on DFW you can read here, along with a mini-review in the comments from Advergirl, who obviously knows her lit) as part of the Independents’ Day festival last Saturday on Gay St.

I’d forgotten how funny Brief Interviews with Hideous Men could be.

And how it felt the first time to read (and re-read, a couple times, alternately flipping from the story to the inside blurbs to the back cover’s author pic and back, before going on, trying to make sense) that opening scene from Infinite Jest, my intro to Wallace.

A book which, for a while, I re-read about once every other year.  Losing myself.  Again.  With characters people like Pemulis and that sideways, ‘drine-fueled glance; Lenz with those rats; Poor Tony.  Big Don Gately.  Picking up on stuff I’d missed before.

And then which book I also raved frothingly about to anybody who’d listen.  Friends, family.  People who LOVE to read!  I’d corner them: Read this. And, yet, to this day, I only know of one person whom I recommended/gave the book to who ever actually finished it.  The rest couldn’t hack it or just didn’t get it and gave up.

On some of the most spectacular writing.  Ever.

Anyhow, all that came flooding back on Saturday, at Due Amici, with ALT’s performance.  And though I was lathered up pretty good with sunblock because of the skin thing — and, yes, some did get in my eye, thank you — I’ll confess that there were a couple real tears interspersed in there, somewhere.

And, in my more self-directed moments, I like to think the performance was in some way for/because of me.

So thanks, Matt, regardless if it was or wasn’t.

I’m just glad to finally know an actual fellow Wallace fan in the flesh.

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7 Responses to “DFW”

  1. madebyamyd Says:

    thanks for the education. i will give this another try. glad that pesky cancer thing is gone. bastard.

  2. madebyamyd Says:

    one more thing i forgot….”you and your advergirl crush! jeez!”

  3. ryan Says:

    (ahem) Alleged crush, you mean.

  4. Charly Says:

    I felt the same way when I tried to to recommend U & I by Nicholson Baker
    http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/22862177 between 1992 and 1997. Nobody got or the writing was too technical. Would you try? It’s spectacular writing, but less technical and more human than Infinite Jest. Thanks!

  5. ryan Says:

    Got a copy on the shelf, plus Vox and The Mezzanine.

    Have’t read it since school (it was required reading for my senior capstone), and a second look is probably overdue.

    Dusting it off…

  6. ryan Says:

    P.S. Charly, less technical, I get. But I’m going to have to ask you to expound on exactly what you mean by ‘more human.’ Can’t let that slide without a defense.

  7. Charly Says:

    I guess I rushed to get something said when I wrote ‘more human’ . But what I meant is something like this:

    in ‘U & I’ I can empathize with the narrator (Baker) and he seems like a real person.

    Hal Incandenza, on the other hand, is never humanized to me – it’s all air conditioned tunnels at tennis academy. I like the imagery in Infinite Jest, the plot to the extent there is one, and the language and symbolism and cultural criticism. But I don’t connect with anyone – there is no character or internal emotion to shed some insight onto my own experiences. (Ironically perhaps, since I was a youth tennis prodigy too.)

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