[FoRK] one last DFW forward

Joe Barrera joe-fork at barrera.org
Sun Sep 14 16:46:28 PDT 2008

I'm sure many of you are losing patience. But still.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: BJ Bush <bj.bush at gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Sep 13, 2008 at 9:50 PM
Subject: Re: wallace-l: DFW suicide?
To: Daniel Julius <daniel.julius at gmail.com>
Cc: wallace-list <wallace-l at waste.org>

I just came home from a wedding and saw this. Like a lot of the others
on the list, it feels like a friend has died. Sorry if this comes to
soon, but I had this excerpt on my refrigerator for a long time. It's
from Chris Hager's thesis - the first I read from
thehowlingfantods.com while I was reading IJ the first time, and I
still think about it almost everyday of my life.

When I first read this, it reached me at a depth that nothing had
before, or since. Now, it takes on a new meaning.

 One of the first dreams Don Gately has after he's visited by Jim
Incandenza's ghost features Joelle van Dyne as the figure of Death,
and looks like this:

   Death is explaining that Death happens over and over, you have
many lives, and at the end of each one (meaning life) is a woman who
kills you and releases you into the next life…. Death says that this
certain woman that kills you is always your next life's mother. This
is how it works: didn't he know? …This is why Moms are so obsessively
loving… they're trying to make amends for a murder neither of you
quite remember, except maybe in dreams. As Death's explanation goes
on…, the more unfocused and wobbly becomes his vision of the Death's
Joelle…, until near the end it's as if he's seeing her through a kind
of cloud of light, a milky filter that's the same as the wobbly blur
through which a baby sees a parental face bending over its crib, and
he begins to cry in a way that hurts his chest, and asks Death to set
him free and be his mother, and Joelle either shakes or nods her
lovely unfocused head and says: Wait. (850-51)

Assuming Don Gately can't actually remember 'the wobbly blur' through
which he looked up out of his crib, his dream has a direct hook-up
with Jim Incandenza, here. So while Gately's pretty clearly seeing
some variant, at least, of Infinite Jest, he might well be seeing some
non-lethal version, the unimpaired artistic vision from which J.O.
began, his mind's intent, as he meant Hal to see it; for probably the
most interesting thing we learn about the film from Don Gately's
dream's report of it is Death's one-word closing proclamation: Wait.
Which, ironically, is precisely what viewers of the actual film refuse
to do, lending the film its awesome power -- they insist on watching
again, immediately, at all costs. Their essentially solipsistic desire
for continued gratification is the impulse J.O. sought to combat in
his son, sought to replace with a willingness to wait, to forbear
addictions and endure the ineluctable pain of sobriety, isolation, of
years before Death will set you free and be your mother, years spent
committed to things outside the self, concealing that the only
persistent, and ultimately selfish, desire is for Death's liberty --
concealing an innate self-loathing, a guilt-ridden fear that you're
ever only the sum of your lusts ('However truly you believe there's a
sickness to existence that can never be cured, if you're depressed you
will sooner or later surrender and say: I just don't want to feel bad
anymore'), for which you must always do penance.

 I guess David couldn't wait any longer, which makes me
feel....there's not other way to describe it other than very, very

On Sat, Sep 13, 2008 at 11:49 PM, Daniel Julius <daniel.julius at gmail.com>
> I feel like a close friend has died
> On Sat, Sep 13, 2008 at 6:32 PM, tim becker <beckertronix at gmail.com>
>> I really, really hope this is wrong:
>> From Edward Champions FIlthy Habits:
>> http://www.edrants.com/david-foster-wallace-dead/
>> "David Foster Wallace Dead
>> from Edward Champion's Filthy Habits by DrMabuse
>> I've received terrible news from an anonymous source.  David Foster
>> Wallace, the talented writer of Infinite Jest, is dead of an apparent
>> suicide. I have confirmed with multiple sources that this is indeed
>> the case. The Claremont Police Department informed me that they
>> answered a call at Mr. Wallace's residential address, in which someone
>> had discovered a deceased body. The name of the body has been
>> withheld.
>> I have also contacted the Los Angeles County Coroner and I received
>> partial confirmation from them too. At the time, I called, they were
>> in the process of informing the family.
>> I have also left a message for Wallace's agent, Bonnie Nadell, to find
>> out if she knows anything.
>> But the facts indicate that David Foster Wallace is dead of suicide at
>> the age of 46. This is a terrible blow for American letters. And I
>> hope to have more later."
>> I can find nothing about it anywhere else, and I hate to spread a
>> rumors, but Ed Champion is fairly reliable and well-connected enough
>> for this to be believable.
>> I am sick and heartbroken and hope like hell that I am spreading false
>> information.
>> -tim
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