September 14, 2008
Can't Not Say Something

It seemed kind of weird to have that damn picture of skulls at the top of the page on a day when I'm probably getting more visits than I have in years, all due to hosting David Foster Wallace's commencement speech, which people are reading in a new way today as news of his suicide spreads.

I've read many heartfelt and beautiful remembrances today, and it's a shame that his ability to so precisely articulate the weird pain and loneliness that being wrapped up in your skull can bring, did not, in the end, give him freedom from that anguish. This passage -- from an essay on Kakfa -- has been richocheting around my brain today:

[T]he horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home. ... [E]nvision us approaching and pounding on this door, increasingly hard, pounding and pounding, not just wanting admission but needing it; we don't know what it is but we can feel it, this total desperation to enter, pounding and ramming and kicking. That, finally, the door opens...and it opens outward -- we've been inside what we wanted all along. Das ist komisch.

Goodbye Dave, and thanks.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at September 14, 2008 12:00 PM