Jennifer Spiegel is the author of three books: THE FREAK CHRONICLES (stories), LOVE SLAVE (a novel), and AND SO WE DIE, HAVING FIRST SLEPT (a novel) . She is also half of Snotty Literati, a book-reviewing team with Lara Howard Smith. In November 2018, she established BoGoDo Press. Please visit www.jenniferspiegel.com for additional information.
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Blogging DFW 5
Seriously, this blogging project is for me. As mentioned in the first post, I'm blogging to keep myself accountable. You may want to read if you're a hardcore DFW fan or if you like dipping into splendorous moments . . .
Oh, but addiction . . .
When I tried this book the first time, I didn’t get it. I
had no clue that I would spend a chunk of my forties writing about addiction.
So, that first time, I got it. A little. Now, I’m enthralled.
He nailed it.
Today, just the descriptions, the exposition: the Bostonian
setting, the multi-unit rehab facility dissected. DFW dissects.
“Unit #1, right by the lot in the hospital’s shadow, is
leased by some agency that seems to employ only guys in turtlenecks; the place
counsels wild-eyed Vietnam vets for certain very-delayed stress disorders, and
dispenses various pacifying medications.”
“Unit #2, right next door is a methadone clinic . . .
Customers for the services of Units #1 and #2 arrive around sunup and form long
lines. The customers for Unit #1 tend to congregate in like-minded groups of
three or four and gesture a lot and look wild-eyed and generally pissed-off in
some broad geopolitical way . . . [T]he customers of #2 leave the building
deeply changed, their eyes not only back in their heads but peaceful . . . while
#1’s wild-eyed patrons tend to exit #1 looking even more stressed and
historically aggrieved than when they went in.”
Unit #3 is empty.
“Unit #4 . . . is a repository for Alzheimer’s patients with
VA pensions. #4’s residents wear jammies 24/7, the diapers underneath giving
them a lumpy and toddlerish aspect. The patients are frequently visible at #4’s
windows, in jammies, splayed and open-mouthed, sometimes shrieking, sometimes
just mutely open-mouthed . . .”
“Unit #5 . . . is for catatonics and various vegetablish,
fetal-positioned mental patients subcontracted to a Commonwealth outreach
agency . . .”
“Unit #6 . . . is Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery
House . . .”
Unit #7, boarded up, is where Ennet House residents sneak in
And then, we learn more from the world of Unit #6:
“That there’s a certain type of person who carries a picture
of their therapist in their wallet . . . That no matter how smart you thought
you were, you are actually way less smart than that . . .That loneliness is not
a function of solitude . . . That it is statistically easier for low IQ people
to kick an addiction than it is for high-IQ people. . .That most
Substance-addicted people are also addicted to thinking, meaning the have a
compulsive and unhealthy relationship with their own thinking . . .That some
people’s moms never taught them to cover up or turn away when they sneeze . .
.That ‘acceptance’ is usually more a matter of fatigue than anything else. . .
That everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down
they are different from everybody else. . . “
I think, honestly, what’ll happen is that I finish this book
thinking that the parts were amazing but the whole failed. But I will walk away
with a tremendous affection for the man. I feel it now.