Sunday, November 30, 2008

with thesis out of the way (update to possibly follow, although my topic was not that satisfying to me and i'd be happy not to revisit it for sometime, if only to avoid the pain that comes with seeing a previously unseen error. such revisting might be necessary, however, sooner than later as there is interest from some quarters in turning one part into a submissible manuscript), i can turn to some leisure reading for approximately 17 minutes, before the next thing comes down.

i've still been thinking a lot about foster wallace's death. the rolling stone piece by david lipsky is first rate, and really just goes to show you how fucked up antidepressants can be, but also really speaks to the ways in which wallace was a classic white male author (substances, women, drink), which is somewhat heartening.

in any case, i'm hoping to tackle infinite jest at some point (v. soon) although i would like to get away from reading white dudes for a while (i picked up an octavia butler novel at the library, also, to facilitate this). i got a wallace secondary source that seems to be pretty legit, and which source i'm hoping willl help me to get further through IJ than i did last time (~175 pages). i'm buoyed by a friend recently completing it. which means that it is possible.

i'm gearing up by reading some of the things i already know. but i came across one essay in a supposedly fun thing i'll never do again about this tennis player named joyce. it's helping me think about (as opposed to just enjoying the prose, which is what i usually do) why i like wallace's writing. one thing is clearly his ability to take in a situation and know that situation and then help you to know it as well. this is the great thing about his nonfiction--there's almost no barrier between what's happening, and you since DFW (seemingly) lets you in on everything that he's thinking about and that composes his experience. obviously something must be filtered for the printed page, but it seems like not much is. he's far and away my favorite nonfiction author, but the fiction...maybe the problem is that the fiction leaves reality behind, so whatever is going on in wallace's mind is just too advanced for me. when he's stuck in the real world he has to meet me on my level, necessarily. with fiction there are no such constraints.

plus this guy really fucking loves tennis. and i really couldn't care less about tennis. but i want to read anything that he's written about it.

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