Declaration of Principles“It may be true that one has to choose between ethics and aesthetics, but it is no less true that whichever one chooses, one will always find the other at the end of the road.”
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Category Archives: Writing
“DFW: I had a teacher I liked who used to say good fiction’s job was to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I guess a big part of serious fiction’s purpose is to give the reader, who like all of us is sort of marooned in her own skull, to give her imaginative access to other selves. Since an ineluctable part of being a human self is suffering, part of what we humans come to art for is an experience of suffering, necessarily a vicarious experience, more like a sort of “generalization” of suffering. Does this make sense? We all suffer alone in the real world; true empathy’s impossible. But if a piece of fiction can allow us imaginatively to identify with a character’s pain, we might then also more easily conceive of others identifying with our own. This is nourishing, redemptive; we become less alone inside. It might just be that simple”
Has to be Pynchon doing the VO. Sounds just like him from the Simpsons appearances.
There is a fantastic selection of David Foster Wallace related mp3s over at The David Foster Wallace Audio Project. This is a great collection, including the long out of print recording of DFW reading Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.
She who did not come, wasn’t she determined
nonetheless to organize and decorate my heart?
If we had to exist to become the one we love,
what would the heart have to create?
Lovely joy left blank, perhaps you are
the center of all my labors and my loves.
If I’ve wept for you so much, it’s because
I preferred you among so many outlined joys.
via not being able to fall asleep and Infinite Jest Note 123.
“You know what?” he said with great earnestness. “I think we’re both afraid of the same thing. And for the same reason. We’ve never managed, either one of us, to get all the way into life. We’re hanging on to the outside for all we’re worth, convinced we’re going to fall off at the next bump. Isn’t that true?”
She shut her eyes for a moment. His lips on her cheek had awakened the sense of guilt, and it swept over her now in a great wave that made her dizzy and ill. She had spent her siesta trying to wipe her conscience clean of the things that had happened the night before, but now she was clearly aware theat she had not been able to do it, and that she never would be able to do it. She put her hand to her forehead, holding it there. At length she said: “But if we’re not in, then we are more likely to – fall off.”
She had hoped he would offer some argument to this, that he would find his own analogy faulty, perhaps – that some consolation would be forthcoming. All he said was “I don’t know.”