Thursday, March 30, 2017
Just a stellar passage:
“In the eighth American-educational grade, Bruce Green fell dreadfully in love with a classmate who had the unlikely name of Mildred Bonk. The name was unlikely because if ever an eighth-grader looked like a Daphne Christianson or a Kimberly St. Simone or something like that, it was Mildred Bonk. She was the kind of fatally pretty and nubile wraithlike figure who glides through the sweaty junior-high corridors of every nocturnal emitter’s landscape. Hair that Green had heard described by an overwrought teacher as ‘flaxen’; a body which the fickle angel of puberty—the same angel who didn’t even know Bruce Green’s zip code—had visited, kissed, and already left, back in sixth; legs which not even orange Keds with purple-glitter-encrusted laces could make unserious. Shy, iridescent, coltish, pelvically anfractuous, amply busted, given to diffident movements of hand brushing flaxen hair from front of dear creamy forehead, movements which drove Bruce Green up a private tree. A vision in a sundress and silly shoes. Mildred L. Bonk.”
(Since I own the book digitally, it’s easy for me to find my favorites.)
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
You don’t really need to read this. I’m doing it for myself.
I have told a lie.
I’ve pretended to have read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. In truth, I have—at one time or another—bought it in hard copy, as an ebook, and on audio. I am finally taking the plunge: I have committed to the audiobook, all 56 hours and 19 minutes of it. I will “blog it,” by which I mean quote passages and say unedited stuff that probably misses the whole point.
First, two facts: I’d count myself as a fan! I’m not lying here! I loved A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. I adored Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. I’d consider an essay he wrote on writing (in which he compared loving writing to loving one’s own sick and hideous baby) pivotal in my writerly thinking. That movie about him? The End of the Tour? Loved it! Other short stories? Read them!
But not Infinite Jest!
Second, I lied about it in the most ridiculous situation. I lied about it to a professor’s face in grad school during an independent study. That’s right. I looked him in the eye, one on one, where we were discussing literature in my MFA program, and I faked it.
I still feel bad about this. I really liked him too. That’s why I chose him for the independent study. He wore Garfield ties, and his office was cavernous and wild with books, straight out of Dickens. I was supposed to be reading great novels that I had totally missed. And this was one of them.
This is pretty crazy, because I’m a bit of a goodie-goodie, and definitely a nerd. I can’t fully explain it. I just didn’t read it.
So I’m blogging David Foster Wallace.
I’ll be in touch.