I didn't know Dave Wallace. I never attended a reading of his. I still haven't even gotten through Infinite Jest. But hearing about his death 11 days ago was like a punch in the gut. I've never before really experienced the sadness that I felt when I heard about his death, from somebody that I did not know. But for a few days the world seemed very heavy. I think Peter Sagal, the NPR personality, touched on why I felt such sadness, when he wrote:
one of the things DFW wrote about, pretty constantly, especially in his more informal commentary, was the experience of us all being alone in our heads, and desperately trying to break out of it. I remember reading one comment he made (wouldn’t even know where to begin looking for it) that the whole point of fiction, maybe writing in general, was to send a message from one isolated head to another, with the meaning: you are not as alone as it seems.
I spent those first few nights after hearing the news going through my bookshelves, reading short stories he had written, and interviews he had given, and lamenting that I once loaned away for life a book that included an introduction by a well-respected writer that was essentially just a comment on an interview he had once given (such was DFW's ability that other well-regarded writers were eager to get to write simply about his interviews).
Like I said, it's been 11 days now. And a sense of normalcy has returned, at least for me. But I won't soon stop reading, and responding to, his writing. So I thought today would be a good time to put up some of his work in this space, for my resource, and hopefully for yours, too.
The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys And The Shrub. (abridged version that he read on This American Life here)
Consider The Lobster.
Federer As Religious Experience.