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    Still very sad about David Foster Wallace's suicide; his writing was (and is) a real source of inspiration to me. I read Consider the Lobster in 2006 and bothered everyone I knew by reading great long chunks of it out loud.

    This transcript of a commencement speech he gave at Kenyon College has been referenced a lot in the obituaries I've looked at, predominantly because there's a passage where he talks explicity about suicide, but the speech is really about the usual big DFW themes, perception, consciousness, and a sincere love for others.

    It culminates in this statement, which is as much of a statement worth embracing as anything I've ever read: "The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day."

    This is a difficult thing to try to do, difficult enough that anyone who attempts it is almost certain to fail regularly. I can understand intimately why this kind of failure might weigh hard on a person.

    Related: Simone Weil: "Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in this world but people capable of giving them their attention. The capacity to give one's attention to a sufferer is a very rare and difficult thing; it is almost a miracle; it is a miracle. Nearly all those who think they have this capacity do not possess it."

    Related: Perils of the mystic life (from 2005)

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    Wednesday, September 17, 2008
    6:59 PM


    Great reflections here. I still can't wrap my head around what happened. Shocked and saddened are understatements.

    I don't have a link readily available, but Joshua Ferris wrote a simple yet wonderful reflection on David Foster Wallace. He recalls an early meeting with him before he became popular. It's the kind of piece that could have easily fallen into a name-dropping account, but it's a terrific remembrance.
    Thanks for the heads-up! I Googled it, and found the link.
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