Monday, December 14, 2009

david foster wallace

The first time I'd read about David Foster Wallace (i'd read Wallace, but not yet read about him) I was on the 33 bus and wholly engaged with this article in New Yorker.  I nearly missed my stop.  Which is saying something 'cuz the 33 bus is not something you want to keep staying on. What a sad tale.  What an intense life this young man led.  Much of the intensity existing inside his own brain.  His depression ran most of his thoughts and actions, his life.  His very successful writer life.

After he committed suicide, his fame grew.  As is usually the strange case with infamous people of each genre.  Each time I read something else about him, I felt like I knew him.  So young and so brilliant, his writing described as "designed to be unwrapped—and there was always a gift inside for those who took the trouble."

Today, as I was reading  a short fiction piece of his, in a recent New Yorker, I wanted to hug him all over again.   At one point, he writes, as the narrator, that  

"I was never the sort of child who believed in 'monsters under the bed' or vampires, or who needed a night-light in his bedroom; on the contrary, my father (who clearly 'enjoyed' me and my eccentricities) once laughingly told my mother that he thought I might suffer from a type of benign psychosis called 'anti-paranoia,' in which I seemed to believe that I was the object of an intricate universal conspiracy to make me so happy I could hardly stand it."

The entire piece is about a little boys memory of his parents, himself, and the magic that is being a kid.  As someone (read: me!) who's constantly trying to capture the feeling to describe the momentous yet small wonders of life and do it in not so many words... I find Wallace's final run-on sentence, of about 315 workds in length, truly inspiring.

(photo book i made: the drive cross-country, cross-canada, when RK & I moved from NY to CA)


Maggie May said...

thank you for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Call me!

hol said...

Thank-you Mol, for introducing me to David Foster Wallace...., Wow, is all I can say right now, from the bits of 'The New Yorker' I've read. I want MORE....OX, Hol
PS. Merry, Merry Christmas and Happy New Decade! WOW, again, where did that last one go?

Elizabeth said...

I've never read any Wallace, but I've always wanted to tackle something of his. Thank you for the link to this short story, this will be a starting point!