One of my favorite writers of all time hung himself on Friday night. Like a modern day telegraph I learned about it on Rick Peabody’s Facebook Status line. I am stunned at this loss, but I know from my own life how dark the curtain can fall and what one will and won’t do to make it go away. We fans don’t know the people we love most dearly as “real” people but we think they would like us and understand us – DFW was one of those beloved. I will never know what went on in those sad eyes daily and why he liked to wear that Bandana all the time! Hell, I would have asked to see his long hair more often!
Reading him was one of the most fun things I ever did – if you are a reader you know the can’t go anywhere now please leave me alone can’t let it go but how the hell am I going to understand this even though I want to understand it how does he know all this shit how could one person know all this shit and know what I am thinking EXACTLY-- reading Infinite Jest was one of the most incredible “reader” experiences of my life partly because of the sheer brain power I had to access to get through one of his great run on sentences and the time I would have to spend just understanding the endnotes and footnotes well like being in a GENIUS brain!. Like a school year that’s how long it took me and honestly I’m still not finished which will tell you about my pea sized intellectual pretensions! The people in his fiction or his own insanely funny real life exploits that he wrote about like the cruise ship or to the county fair were like me and my friends. Friends who are eccentric to a fault, have finely honed bullshit detectors and will shout that out, who are sometimes too brilliant to exist in normal time, who often talk late at night on how hard it is to fight off the even darker nights that come even to the most faithful. They like to live in the moment like we did one night in a river next to a graveyard at St. Mary’s College -- where we went swimming fireflies and phosphorescent algae and stars coming together and only poets could have made that up but it is a real place and real time and in that moment we were all happy and dizzy with life. I hope, David, you are somewhere safe like that
Recommended: Infinite Jest, A Supposedly Fun Thing I Will Never Do Again, The Girl With Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (I’m sure the stuff I haven’t read is also right up there.)