I'm the author of THE FREAK CHRONICLES (stories) and LOVE SLAVE (a novel). I'm also half of Snotty Literati, a book-reviewing team with Lara Howard Smith. AND SO WE DIE, HAVING FIRST SLEPT is forthcoming (December 2018) from Five Oaks Press. Please visit www.jenniferspiegel.com for book information and www.boscosgoingdown.com for haphazard blogging.
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.