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DFW. Rest in peace.

09/12/2009

“It’s weird to feel like you miss someone you’re not even sure you know” — Mario Incandenza.

I’m fighting tears as I post this.
A couple of days ago I cried in my boyfriend’s car after he’d driven me back from studying at his apartment. He’s reading IJ too and so he understood.
He understood that it doesn’t make sense to me to miss this author whom I’ve never met—I’ve only read one book of his (albeit the “masterpiece”), I feel almost like a fraud for having this sadness in the face of his friends, family, colleagues, and really devoted readers who have so much more cause for sadness than I do.

I still haven’t posted the “what I’ve learned from IJ” piece that I (had been) working on. School interfered and I’ve been feeling my “infinite summer” moving away from me in that gradual way that waves slowly pull objects out to sea. You see it, you see it, you see it, and suddenly the bobbing object’s become a bobbing speck out of sight.
That’s what I don’t want. I don’t want those lessons to drift out of my consciousness.

I remember grieving over the Virginia Tech shootings 2 years ago, again feeling like it was not my place to grieve. My high school had lost an alumna, but I didn’t know her. I’d transferred in as a senior that year and had no real emotional root to West Springfield.
Yet it hurt.
I’d written a poem and posted it on the memorial website—it’s a magnetic poem.
Here it is:
why

I think those feelings still resonate with me w/r/t DFW.

Dave, thank you for your writing, your humor, the way you’ve made me consider my world differently. Thank you for your reminder that “this is water” and for your challenge to a graduating class to live a compassionate life that’s extended to an audience far beyond that auditorium. Thank you for sharing your love of words, your struggles, and your kindness. Thank you for helping me forget how alone I really was this summer after the move; thank you for Infinite Jest and the real, beautiful, terrifying, eye-opening joy it was to read–the fact that James O. Incandenza’s initals are JOI has never ceased to make me suspicious. Thank you for saturating that book with truth, for making it challenging, for making me think hard, for making me struggle with it. I don’t know yet how exactly it will have changed me, but I know it has.

The Spanish medieval poets believed that there were three lives: the mortal, physical existence; the spiritual life of glory or fame; and the life eternal which occurred after death.
That second life of honor is not cut off at death; it last as long as the person is held in the memories of those left behind. One’s glory can still burn brightly years and years after they themselves have withered away.
This is only the first anniversary, but I think DFW’s second life is in no danger of flickering out.
No indeed.

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