Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jesus Saves

I once received a copy of Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (yes, the dude that just killed himself this weekend for God knows what reason in this vale of tears) from a long ago love, someone who is not in a good way now himself. I read it because a) I read books, lots of them and b) I was in a race with my good friend John to see which of us would make it through the weighty tome. I don't remember a lot of it; Wallace's essays always left a stronger impression. When I taught, I often brought out his "The Nature Of The Fun," a biting look at the difficulty of writing. Reading it was a revelation. Fuck -- someone felt the same way I did, felt the pain of writing alone and hoping for the best, felt the all-consuming passion of ignoring everything else for it, and the deadness when you tried to please someone other than yourself with your words. To do so resulted in shitty writing. Shitty writing that wouldn't feed the vanity impulse you'd written it to satisfy.

Infinite Jest weighs in at over a thousand pages, much of it crazy, much of it brilliant. I don't have the book anymore; I don't know what happened to something so heavy, something that took up so much space on my shelf. I suppose we lose a lot over the years, even things we think we'll have forever. It's hard to understand that all that is solid will fade.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"It looks like you can write a minimalist piece without much bleeding. And you can. But not a good one." David Foster Wallace

Cocktail Hour
Drinking essay suggestion: A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again David Foster Wallace

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!


laughingwolf said...

happy sunday to you, too....

the walking man said...

Is this little craft we practice always meant to be a masturbatory experience? Yes it is necessary to write alone but to the exclusion of all else? What riches does the aesthetic have? What power?

I could never understand the candle lit tower with no glass in the windows suffering over prose.

Is all fiction a product of the authors mind? Is that possible without the ripening of experiences? How can we exclude anything?

Yes there only 1440 minutes in a day and we are insane in the amount of time we commit to this little thing we do, but do we need to let it lead us to insanity?

For me? I will claim my insanity and then write, not write then let others say I was driven mad by my writing.

Hola Senora D...have a balmy trip eh.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Michelle--

I loved this post. Specifically, the last line, "It's hard to understand that all that is solid will fade." This is a hard concept to grasp. Especially since the entire world is tangible. I love how you draw the parallel with Wallace's hefty work.

As always, you are brilliant, sweet dear.

Love you much.


Charles Gramlich said...

I've wondered myself how certain things have escaped from my orbit over the years. I had them, and then they were gone.

Anonymous said...

Wallace had a long history of mental illness and hanged himself when he couldn't take it anymore.--C. Jung

Anonymous said...

Anyone can follow a recipe.--MB

Anonymous said...

There is only one recipe--to care a great deal for the cookery.--Henry James

Anonymous said...

I'm a right-parter, whereas Barry O. is a no-parter.--J. McCain

Lana Gramlich said...

I felt that way (that they GOT me,) about Pink Floyd. Am bummed about Rick Wright right now...