It’s incredible, last year in English 325, my professor had given us many pieces by David Foster Wallace. They were filled with a twisting plot, almost of a turmoiled mind. The type of writing was so unique, so individual, that we had a hard time wrapping our minds around it, but at the same time we were shown such a different style of literary production that we were ourselves encouraged to try something out of the norm.
I walked into this reading in Angel Hall on Thursday and they’re reading David Foster Wallace. It was his biography, in fact, and for an hour we listened to his fight with alcoholism and his fight with depression, the room was packed. The reader was also phenomenal, sometimes a story really comes alive with how it’s read. He kept the atmosphere light, breaking up the reading every so often with his own thoughts, inputs, or jokes on his own interpretations. He also had the luck to meet some of the characters in the piece, and as he’s describing his encounters, it’s like he’s reading from a book in his mind. I almost remember the reader more than what he read, he had a way of speaking that sounded like something out of an exhaustively written novel. How can you just pull out a sentence like, “The man was like muscle drained through a filter so that it settled heavy on his entire frame?” How can you see the world, and then communicate it like you’re telling a story, so effortlessly?
As the speaker opened it up to questions at the end, I realized I was way out of my league. Many in the audience had studied the life and works of David Foster Wallace and I was just glad to recognize the name. But more than anything, this session has really hit home something I’ve been meaning to do more–read. Sometimes it’s so easy to say I’m too busy, too tired, but I’ve realized that I really do miss a good book. First book to start with? The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.