David Foster Wallace Has Left the Building
I was imagining that my next post here would be about the new iPods Apple announced this week, or some software-related thing.
I hadn’t imagined I’d be writing a reminiscence of David Foster Wallace, who apparently hanged himself on September 12th.
I remember around the time that "Infinite Jest" came out, several of my friends were talking about it. ceciliatan was enraptured by it, read it cover to cover and then wrapped around and read it again. I wasn’t as caught up in it; in fact, the first time I tried to read it I got caught in the chapter where someone was looping seriously on smoking pot and masturbation, and I gave up on it.
I went on to read "The Broom of the System", though, and loved it. “Roughage” will always have a special meaning for me. And I read of his love for David Lynch, and tried “Infinite Jest” again and this time was thoroughly caught up in The Entertainment.
I had a wonderful moment while reading “Infinite Jest” where I was driving in Boston near Allston and realized I was in the area near the fictional Enfield Tennis Academy that figured in the book. I felt certain that if I just made the next left-hand turn I’d find Enfield and the school. Thankfully, in Boston you’re often unable to make the left-hand turn you want to make, and I was spared veering off into fiction.
He was able to take what would have been slapstick farce in the hands of others and give it a depth, complexity and reality that left it an ironic reflection of our increasingly twisted reality.
I have to imagine that he was in some kind of considerable pain to decide to hang himself. I hope we can find some comfort that he’s in no pain now.