Perspective or lack thereof

I think I have a big problem…yesterday was my ten year anniversary and I completely forgot because today is the one year anniversary of David Foster Wallace’s death. It would seem that my priorities are way out of whack.

Sept 12, 2008 I was moving semi-long-distance, in the truck one-fifth of the way to my new home and heard that the man I considered the greatest living writer was dead. I couldn’t believe it. But it didn’t hurt yet. A few days later, when my Internet was finally up and I was sitting on the floor in front of a box-perched computer, I learned Wallace had hanged himself. And the floor fell out from under me.

That day got me reading again, got me back into academic writing, mired me in a mild existential crisis I’m not sure I’ve emerged from. But his death got me living again; scared me back into conscious decisions and active participation in the forward progress of my life. David Foster Wallace’s suicide terrified me—that I wouldn’t get any of my writing done, that I wouldn’t get my life done, that I would lose my son the way Mrs. Wallace did, that I might lose Spouse the way Ms. Green did. That day, finally back in the place I love and with a family I’m struggling to be good to, a huge sinkhole collapsed, and I’m still struggling to keep from falling in.

So I forgot my anniversary. Meh. Spouse did, too. We forget a lot these days. Chalk it up to all the living we’re doing.

Rest in peace, Mr. Wallace. And may his parents, sister, and wife all find some peace, too. I wish I had more to offer than blog posts and scholarship on his work, but it’s all I have to give. The rest I’m giving to my family.

12 thoughts on “Perspective or lack thereof

  1. *hugs* It’s interesting how life works. I guess death can beget life. As for wedding anniversaries, aren’t they like mid-life birthdays after a while? Or is that just me?

  2. @ink thanks. hopefully the scholarship will help. it did last year.
    @ck I wish
    @faemom it’s not just you. we’ve never celebrated, really, we came up with a ritual of writing in a journal every year, a note to each other that we then read the next year. But the last entry was before P was born. Shocking, I know. ;-)

  3. Happy Belated Anniversary and condolences. It’s crazy how the brain works, right? You can be so preoccupied with something in the past that you forget to celebrate the present…

    Not that really it’s a bad thing. Sometimes it’s good to think of other things. I will be celebrating my 9th anniversary this Tuesday, and I’m not even sure we like each other anymore.

    Weird to admit it, but I am kind of jealous of your devotion to DFW. Wish I had an artist, living or dead, I loved that much.

  4. @kitch well, we fully acknowledge that we don’t like each other much, and we both express hope that it’s a phase borne of the craziness of new parenting and being ten years in. We’ve only been married for…I don’t know, what year is it? Six years? Whatever. We forgot that anniversary, a few months back, too. Meh.
    @Melissa yeah, thanks. I’m kind of struggling to do more of the conscious living stuff, but I’ll take what I’ve got for now. It is a pretty damned okay way to live, that whole actively choosing and moving forward, whatever forward means to you.

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss. That seems weird to say because I’m not sure you knew David Foster Wallace personally, but it’s still a loss to you. But on a selfish note, I’m glad it got you writing again. I’ve only recently discovered your blog and I really enjoy what I’ve read so far.

  6. @tcmj that was sweet: both the condolences and the compliment.
    No, I didn’t know Wallace. Danced through the sprinklers of his writing, but didn’t know him. Tried to write a Masters thesis on him back when departments thought he beneath their notice. But never knew him.
    And welcome. Glad you enjoy bits of the blog.

  7. “Danced through the sprinklers of his writing, but didn’t know him.”

    What a lovely, lovely way to put it.

    I understand how much you must miss him. I miss him so much, myself.

  8. @Dan thanks…I can never quite explain why reading his writing makes me feel smarter than I am, and then makes me resolve to try to get smarter to earn the prose. But it does.
    I can’t stop thinking about his family and how much harder it must be for them.

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