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Thanks. That was the eulogy i needed.

Teresa Gilman

What a sadness that he's gone. My heart hurts today.

Your eulogy at lest touches this.


Miss Bliss

I adore you. Who else but you would have connected Spalding Gray to David Foster Wallace. I do understand why you would throw Dave Eggers in there but 826 Valencia is why I do not worry for him.

Suicide makes me angry, so deeply angry that it can bring me to tears...and you know that doesn't happen much. Sometimes I think our greatest fear and our deepest pain is that no one truly sees us.

Well done.

Jacob Russell

What are we assuming when we find that we are angry, and our anger is directed at another person? What are we not saying? About how much power we have over our lives? About how little power we may find we have when overtaken by waves of manic energy or when our legs and arms and heart, the very power to imagine ourselves anywhere else or in any other condition--are shackled as in iron?

A soul who is depressed does not spend the day sitting on the edge of his bed, unable to move, because he is sad, because he is in pain; he does not move because to rise and go down the stairs and open the door and walk out on the street involves first an act of imagination. One sees oneself in this future, entertains it as a possibility. In depression a person is stripped of the ability to believe it is possible to act, and every action is an act of force, moving against a great weight, weighted under--until the simple acts of sustaining life are beyond all human strengh.


Yes, Jacob, I know very exactly what you mean. I say only that I would like to believe that for someone as imaginative as Wallace, some shred of that imagination, or its products, could have sustained him through one of those moments, and that failing that, he could have stayed his hand for the sake of people close to him.

Not that I believe this, but I would like to.

Jacob Russell

"could have" are the operative words here.

Exactly what depression, particularly the cycling phases of bipolar disorder--strip away. One does not choose that sort of end, one is seized by it.

Jacob Russell

Hard to know where to insert this into this... certainly to me... painful subject...

but I'm glad you left a comment on my blog--which led me to discovering yours.

I have a nice down your side of the planet.NZ... a painter.

Anyway--thank your for your comments


There's always, I find, a little sleight-of-hand involved in writing about depression. Because you can't really write from it. You write from the edges of it, the nightmare memory of it or the impending dread of it, and you pretend you're writing from it, but you're not, really, because no words, no light, no nothing comes out of that center. And then you realize that you've written another thing that's not quite true, though it may be good, may even be useful. I always feel a little bad about the stuff I've written about depression.


Dale. Yes, thank you, that's it exactly, and I feel that about this.

The closest Wallace came to actually writing about depression was his story "The Depressed Person," which in its clinical tone expresses a refusal to step into the black hole of the depressed person's point of view, and instead undertakes an obsessive, fascinated mapping of all its describable edges.

Teresa Gilman

When he lived in my neighborhood in the early 90s we didn't know what a good writer he was; he just turned up at parties and stuff. It was only after he left that his writing took off. Now, it feels like I will be reading all of his stuff anew, from a different person. Not the one I thought he was.

Does this make sense?



Yes, totally. I thought he was stronger. But that's the fascination: why do I believe that talent and drive, which he clearly had, imply strength in the face of darkness?

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