Friday, March 27, 2009


David Foster Wallace .. and Gromit! Hahaha!

No, not the metroplex. Been savoring this article sent to me by B. David Foster Wallace is his favorite author, but after a handful of failed recommendations, we realized that our literary tastes have little common ground. Perhaps he is much more cynical and thought-crazy, while I like to go for a rollicking good story. (He doesn't think John Irving is hilarious! Unbelievable!) Anyway, even though I still don't plan on reading Infinite Jest, this article is intriguing because it explains the intent of the author trying to make art that doesn't merely talk about but finds some redemption from these "dark and stupid" times. (“Look, man, we’d probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is?”) That is a noble task. Other ruminations of his stuck out to me, as I am dealing with profound boredom and the quest for a task, or "brass ring."

Accounts of his addictions and solitary lifestyle reminds me that fame is repellent to so many talented artists. Hard to imagine for the common entertainment-sucker, but there it is.

Read it

Memorable quotes:

“What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant,”

About his verbose style

True freedom “means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.”

“Bliss—a-second-by-second joy and gratitude at the gift of being alive, conscious—lies on the other side of crushing, crushing boredom. Pay close attention to the most tedious thing you can find (Tax Returns, Televised Golf) and, in waves, a boredom like you’ve never known will wash over you and just about kill you. Ride these out, and it’s like stepping from black and white into color. Like water after days in the desert. Instant bliss in every atom.”

I differ with him on this one. Besides constant, maddening pain, boredom is the worst thing ever. You feel like you will stay the same old way forever.

At the halfway house, Wallace got to know people with radically different backgrounds. “Mr. Howard,” he wrote his editor, “everyone here has a tattoo or a criminal record or both!” The halfway house also showed him that less intellectual people were often better at dealing with life. They found catchphrases such as “One day at a time” genuinely helpful. To his surprise, so did he. As he later told Salon, “The idea that something so simple and, really, so aesthetically uninteresting—which for me meant you pass over it for the interesting, complex stuff—can actually be nourishing in a way that arch, meta, ironic, pomo stuff can’t, that seems to me to be important.”

B also showed me the trailer of Away We Go, which stars Jon Krasinki of The Office fame. It looks like one of those real-life movies where the characters are weird, but in a way comparable to the people you know. Looking forward to it. And speaking of movies, I recently saw Coraline in 3D. It blew me away.. not only was it a visual feast, the storyline was top-notch, the characters eccentric and grotesque but also likeable, and it bestowed a good rap upon mangy cats. Reminded me of how I felt while watching The Triplets of Belleville. More wildly creative films like this one need to be made.

Img source: Yankee Pot Roast

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