Monday, June 22, 2009

I have received two books from my friend Tim since being here by David Foster Wallace as well as a recommendation to read him from another friend as well. I have, however, decided that he is not a good author. He is incredibly gimmicky and the more of him I read, the more I dislike the gimmick. In fact, I've quit reading his books and essays and wonder why more people haven't. Yes...the man played tennis and knows a lot about it. Yes, he finds himself in situations where his outsider status means he can look upon everything with a superior disdain (or not-so-thinly veiled desire to be part of it). But...why should I care? Also, there's really nothing to be gained from reading his essays. There are very few times where I thought of something differently, saw beauty where I hadn't before, laughed out loud, almost cried...felt anything really, other than a desire to put the book down or at least be done with the mind-numbing footnotes without having actually read them.

I thought for a moment about re-writing this post in Wallace's style, but Blogger doesn't allow for footnotes, and one knows one can't write in Wallace's style without at least 75% as many footnotes as there is text in the body. Likewise, I'd also have to refer to Wallace as "W" or "the auth." to let you know how thoroughly I've rejected accepted writing styles and how much more I have to focus on the overall story and can't be bothered with details like writing out a name.

That got me thinking, however, about other authors with particular styles I do appreciate and why. Like Peggy Noonan for example. Her short sentences, often ended with triads of things or emotions, seem to always move me, even when I disagree. Or Sedaris, who is just funny as all getup, but always follows the same arc to his stories (vignette followed by one or two line lesson learned/summation). least their writing, while repetitive and slightly gimmicky as well, elicits some emotion. With Wallace, I tend to feel like it's the literary equivalent of watching a documentary about...nothing. But a pretentious documentary about nothing.


Anonymous Kelly said...

Hi cousin. Have you ever thought about writing as a career? You're funny, insightful, and generally seem as if you have something worth saying.

Anyway. Have a good day.

7:37 PM  

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