Plainsong Encomium for Another Dead Hero

I read Infinite Jest when I was eighteen. I picked it up on a lark at the Tower Records bookstore on Newbury Street in Boston. I needed something to read to take my mind off the music that had encompassed all of my waking brain time in my first semester at Berklee. It was thick and I figured it would keep me busy for a while at least. Little did I know.

Four months later, after dilligently working through that monster of a novel, I was quite possibly a different person. It was precisely the right book for me to read at precisely the right time in my life. I'm not sure it would be possible for me to state completely how much an influence his voice had on both my writing and my views on art in general. suffice it to say that I doubt there is anyone else I've ever read who had a greater impact.

This future that promises no more brilliance from that man's brain, when there should have been so much more, is not as good as the one we had a few days ago. His is a terrible loss to American literature.

Over the years, I've known a few brilliant people who decided to take their own lives. It never makes any sense. Having sat on that fence once or twice myself, I can't even fathom my own thoughts in that direction, and feel very grateful for the confidence I've found that I will never go there again. Suicide is one of the great tragedies of our form of life, a gesture at eternity that expresses a pain that defies words. I'm not a religious person, but I hope with all my being that whatever pain Wallace was feeling he has found some peace and relief from it now. I hope he knew at the end how much he and his work meant to people who, like me, had never even met him. We are all darkened a bit when our brightest lights go out. There is no question in my mind that David Foster Wallace was such a light.

Godspeed sir, my life has been better because of what you have given to us all. May you rest in peace.