David Foster Wallace hanged himself last night. DFW did more for contemporary non-fiction, more for the travelogue genre, and more to ignite my own writing than any author I can recall. His commencement address at Kenyon College exactly summarizes how I try to live out my day-to-day, a fact which makes his suicide all the more puzzling, and tragic. I’ll miss his writing a lot.
Christian LongSeptember 13, 2008 - 9:15 pm -
Just discovered his untimely/heart-breaking death myself today. Agree with you in terms of his impact and unique potential. The field of talented writers and other creatives is littered with a few that were incapable of sustaining a healthy/balanced life over time. The research and anecdotal evidence goes well beyond my need to repeat it, but it still isn’t easy to grasp how someone like him can seemingly be poised for exceptional greatness…and suddenly choose to throw it away.
Michael K.September 13, 2008 - 10:53 pm -
What’s even worse, Christian, is that DFW seemed to understand – as evident in the aforementioned commencement address – that exceptional greatness was really a quotidian matter, not some monumental thing of epic proportions. Pardon my language, but Wallace GOT that the world is a fucked up place, but he also seemed to get – if his writing is any evidence – that a certain type of dignity and understanding proffers a way through. I feel sick.
Jeff WassermanSeptember 14, 2008 - 3:55 am -
I feel like I need to react, but I have no idea how. This is an immense loss for more people than will likely realize it.
DinaSeptember 14, 2008 - 5:22 am -
I had a thing published a little while back and the title the editors chose played on “Consider the Lobster.” I recognized it as a joking reference but didn’t investigate further. I wish I had.
I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here. Maybe that even a belated realization of the undeserved grace of this peripheral association with Wallace might be worth something, at least. To me, and to the other folks who undoubtedly will discover his work through his death.
Got some reading to do.
kenSeptember 15, 2008 - 4:45 am -
Hey, what happened to your Tags??? Where’s all your good stuff about design/PowerPoint/Keynote/Presentation/Storytelling?
Your blog is my del.icio.us
kenSeptember 15, 2008 - 4:48 am -
Sorry to ask that on this post.
I’m a big Infinite Jest fan.
For what it’s worth…
danSeptember 15, 2008 - 11:28 am -
That’s three people in the last twelve hours asking wtf with the tags. Lost ’em in a WP upgrade. Gonna get (most of) ’em back. Pour one out for DFW while you wait.