Sunday, September 14, 2008

David Foster Wallace Passes Away

This is very sad news that David Foster Wallace committed suicide at the age of 46 on Friday. I took a graduate creative writing course with him at Illinois State University in 1995 and talked with him occasionally in 1996 when Infinite Jest came out. He had a big influence on my writing, and my favorite story of his, "Good Old Neon," hit me like no other piece of fiction has. I was not successful with fiction writing at ISU, but the fact that he liked a poem of mine (as a faculty advisory for the ISU literary journal Druid's Cave) helped move me toward writing and publishing poetry. His work went to some pretty dark places, and he wrote the best story ever about depression (The Depressed Person). In the class he spoke about addiction and success, how they can eat someone up (like they did Kurt Cobain). We read from Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet" and talked about balancing experimentation/difficulty and accessibility/pleasure in writing. He wanted to write for the right reasons, to hit true feelings rather than just be ironic and funny. I hope that wherever he is that he is at peace. He has had a giant influence on writing and on the world that won't soon be forgotten. RIP DFW.


Blogger Tim Jacobs said...

David Wallace profoundly affected my life in many ways: spiritually, on writing, but also in how to be a decent human being in mundane life.

Thanks for sharing this.


5:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home