On David Foster Wallace

wallace.jpgSome marriages come with two microwave ovens or two sets of dishes. Ours did, too, but it also came with two copies of Infinite Jest.

This speaks less to our reading habits than our book-buying habits. I do not believe that Bride of Culture Snob has read David Foster Wallace’s doorstop from 1996. I didn’t get far enough to invoke the 69-page rule, which dictates that I must finish a book once I’ve gotten to that point.

So I won’t tell you — now that he’s killed himself at age 46 — that I devoured every word he wrote, or that I’ve memorized favorite passages, or that I’ve ranked my favorite Wallace foot/end notes. I’ve probably read a few of his short stories and a dozen or so essays. My favorite was probably his report from the set of Lost Highway, which seemed a perfect match of author and subject. (Wallace’s writing and insight are far more interesting to me than the movie itself.)

I don’t feel the cultural loss, even though I know it’s significant. I claim no personal connection with Wallace. I simply feel vaguely sad, and a little ill.

I remember feeling this way when I heard about the death of Elliott Smith and the disappearance of Spalding Gray — something like the retrospectively inevitable fulfillment of dread, with no surprise and a sense of societal failure. Yeah, we shoulda seen that one coming.

I’ve been reading as many blog posts as I can on the suicide of Wallace. (Assaying the zeitgeist?)

Just wanted to say that Elliott Smith and Spalding Gray have been floating around in my thoughts since I heard about Wallace. I wonder if this connection is happening for many people. At least two, I guess.

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