Those still grieving the untimely departure of David Foster Wallace’s splendid consciousness from this earthly plane can take solace in a couple of interesting posts by local writers—ones who have moved on to the next stage of literary grief: wondering what it was all about, anyway?
First up is Secrets of the City’s Max Ross, in his Cracking Spines column, discussing Wallace’s unfinished novel, The Pale King , which will be published in 2010 by Little, Brown. Ross flares out into a meta-discussion about what it means to the rest of us when geniuses like Wallace can’t finish the novels they’re working on? An interesting question, impossible to answer—just the sort of thing Wallace would have written 50,000 words about, before breakfast.
Next is an excellent essay by Tim Jacobs in the current edition of Rain Taxi. Jacobs goes deep to tease out the secret to Wallace’s gift as a writer—and it turns out to be his courage to love, and write from a place of love. An interesting argument, since Wallace spent plenty of time writing about unlovely things—but it’s the “generosity of spirit” thing that Jacobs is driving at. It’s a worthwhile read. In the print edition of the winter 2008/2009 Rain Taxi—but not distributed online, as far as I can tell—is Rain Taxi editor Eric Lorberer's recollection of what it was like to edit DFW, who was contributor and supporter of the mag.
And if that’s not enough David Foster Wallace for you, here’s a link to an excellent (and deliciously thorough) piece on the man and his unfinished legacy that will appear in next week’s New Yorker , but is up on their site now.