Been a while. I’ve been captured by the great apathy monster and could not give a flying fig newton about blogging or quoting.
But, it seems time to sink into the depths with Wallace, to the description of what an intentional fallacy argument might suggest was a reality in Wallace’s life. Here’s the first heart wrenching discussion between psychotically depressed Kate Gompert and generally bedridden Geoffrey Day. The latter is telling her how his depression felt.
“‘As the two vibrations combined, it was as if a large dark billowing shape came billowing out of some corner in my mind. I can’t be more more precise than to say large, dark, shape, and billowing, what came flapping out of some backwater of my psyche I had not had the slightest inkling was there.’
‘But it was inside you, though.’
‘Katherine, Kate, it was a total horror. It was all horror everywhere, distilled and given form. It rose in me, out of me, summoned somehow by the odd confluence of the fan and those notes. It rose and grew larger and became engulfing and more horrible than I shall ever have the power to convey….It was total psychic horror: death, decay, dissolution, cold empty black malevolent lonely voided space. It was the worst thing I have ever confronted’ ” (649-50).
A guy who writes a thousand page novel, within which lie four distinct objective and plotlines, further within which are sierpinski’d convolutions and fissures and faultlines of meaning and intertextual references to classics and postmodern and popular culture alike, and in which the he presents odes to the novel’s forebears as his text mocks those predecessors and commits violent patricide and seeks to move beyond them…this author—who announces in interviews that the text exists between the reader and the words but not with him, the author, for once he is done he might as well be dead—was also reportedly tormented by a depression that goes far beyond the anhedonistic depression most of us think of as debilitating. This man uses a fictional character to explain in detail how every moment and every cell is pain in Gompert and Day. He chronicles others’ moment to moment conundrum of staying in the flame or jumping.
This guy breaks. my. heart.