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.