Saturday, September 13, 2008

R.I.P. David Foster Wallace.

Tonight came the heartbreaking news that writer David Foster Wallace apparently took his own life. Close readers of the Pages have heard at least a little of how much Wallace means to me as an influence and inspiration.

It would be easy to write up Wallace being the Great Underappreciated Artist, the agony-and-ecstasy archetype. Certainly that type has come and (too quickly) gone frequently enough to give the story as we know it tonight a familiar ring. But the trope gets more tired with each passing year. And Wallace got plenty of appreciation.

Which leaves whatever was going on inside. I can't understand how someone so gifted, so successful, so wise could be so apparently unhappy. What I know is that he was the best working writer of fiction and nonfiction I've read over the past ten years. I pray for his friends and family, mourn his passing and miss everything he leaves unwritten.

No, I didn't know him, but yes he was a man of infinite jest.


chellpenz said...

This is awful news. It's hard for me not to be angry when people (young artists frequently)romanticize the tortured writer--because in real life, their inner life is deeply painful. And now it's deeply painful for those who knew him best.

Anonymous said...

I am going to go home tonight and give Infinete Jest another try. Its just so heavy...Love his other works and I am sure I will love it.