Another Random Bit
13 Nov 2015
I’ve spent years trying to make my way through David Foster Wallace. I attempted to read Infinite Jest when I was 18, but after a hundred pages found myself underwater, unable to grasp something so difficult (a teachable moment). I tried again several years ago, and felt almost ready, but, like a marathon runner, needed training. I bought The Broom of the System and A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again and read them slowly, learning how to absorb each phrase and parenthetical.
Thankfully, some have uploaded DFW readings to Youtube, making them accessible to everyone. It was essential to my “training” to hear him read his own work, to finally get the voice in my head.
There’s really nothing eloquent I can add to the mountain that’s already been said about Wallace’s work. Just that, with some maturity, I finally feel at home in them, in the jocular humor, disarming sincerity, and encyclopedic asides. It’s an intellectual blood bank.
(Infinite Jest remains packed in my storage closet due to its heft, but it’s the first thing I’m going to start when I return to the Bay.)