I, for one, do need DFW’s stories and his story. If nothing else, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story is a book for writers…or, more accurately, for those who Want To Write. Or perhaps I can only speak personally: DFW’s struggles with writing – that is, struggles to write – scare and heal me, both because they are so familiar to me. There are many other ways I relate to DFW, though I fear how arrogant or off-base that looks in ‘print,’ and I don’t want to draw false parallels or claim for myself what is not the case or what DFW might have been referring to when he told David Lipsky who was interviewing him for The Rolling Stone in 1996, “I’m not so sure you want to be me.” The point is that I am trying to name where I feel seen, even if it is by a man who I will never meet because he died almost eight years ago. Continue reading Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, A Review, Part 3
We come to the end of Every Love Story is a Ghost Story knowing maybe more factoids and ‘things that make you go hm’ about DFW than we otherwise might have, but not enough more about the people in his life…the people Amy refers to when she devastates listeners of her interview by saying, “the hardest thing about this is fighting so hard for someone and still losing them.” And what is it that they – including DFW – fought so hard for/against?” The other main qualm I have with this rendering of DFW’s life is that D.T. Max did not challenge the narrative of mental illness – odd, since this is David Foster Wallace we’re talking about. But, to be fair, nothing else I’ve read on DFW challenges the narrative, either. Continue reading Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, A Review, Part 2
David Foster Wallace, the greatest writer of his generation, began captivating my attention in late 2014, over six years after he hanged himself in his California home, not even mostly as a writer (though his Infinite Jest gave me, among other things, howling compassion for drug addicts), but more as a person. He had what I and so many other writers pine for and he didn’t want it. And yet, I get it. Much more, I get it. DFW has since become my favorite theologian. I will qualify that I never met David Foster Wallace; but then, neither did his biographer, D.T. Max, and he wrote a whole book about him. Continue reading Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, A Review, Part 1
I’ll start with Sadness because I felt a lot of resonance there. I read a critique of the film that Sadness’ character “normalizes depression,” but maybe we need a dose of that. We’ve so pathologized life’s grief, sadness and feeling low that we have a whole industry around “treating” the feelings while ignoring what to me are obvious causes of them. We live in a culture where even our friends direct us to professionals (without thinking that having to pay someone to listen to you might just make you feel shittier) or police; the rate of expert deferral is keeping pace with the rate of “mental illness” diagnosis. And in my experience, it’s true that memories that sadness touches don’t “turn back.” It’s not that you can’t heal, it’s that “healing” doesn’t always mean “happy.” Continue reading “Inside Out,” A Review
My husband and I are 0 for 4 on the movies featured during our movie nights recently and I’ve been too unengaged by the badness of the first three to feel it worth any commentary on them. Our attempt last weekend to remedy such banality made me wish for boredom. And it was also too instigatingly bad in the far-worse-than-just-merely-not-entertaining-at-all way that I am, once again, prompted by horror to the old writing desk(top). We enjoyed the first Despicable Me movie enough to ignore the ever-lurking voice in the back of your mind that whispers how bad sequels usually are and how much worse they tend to be if their predecessor is a hit, though that could just be because comparison. In other words, we thought we were making at least a tolerable choice. Continue reading Despicable Me 2: Despicable Me to despicable movie
I’ve been developing a list of movies that deal with mental health realities so you’re probably going to be seeing more of these little reviews. Released the same year as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Silver Linings Playbook was a bit more of an ambiguous sell for me. Bradley Cooper plays a refreshingly honest and sort of hapless guy trying to put his life back together after a stay at a psych ward (not shown but alluded to), which he apparently landed in because of a single incident involving an understandably distressing event.