September 14, 2008

I am sad

I felt so much of a kindred connection to the late David Foster Wallace. He, more than any other person I've ever spoken with, read, or met, understood the tension I felt with my demons.

There is darkness in the world. To deny it is an act of intellectual dishonesty. And yet...To fight it can be so, so, tiring. I've met a few who have understood the depth of the demons. Most of them have given up the fight. The kindred spirit I felt in DFW was that he knew his demons at a level that made me feel less alone, but he still fought. And now, he fights no more.

Against my own demons, I do my best to insulate myself from their self-absorbing horror and to live in the moment. To embrace the Zen philosophy which encourages one to avoid any and all value judgments aside from those in the present -- enjoy this food, this breath, this run, this friend, this moment. I suspect DFW never found the calming framework that worked for him. The one that could play the role that Zen, Yoga, meditation, writers who celebrate the beauty of life instead of demons, the wonder of a truly open and vulnerable relationship with a life partner like E and good friends that are too many to name, and the remnants of childhood christianity and various other philisophical and emotional signposts have formed for me. This makes me sad.

When I read DFW, I could not help but recognize and give presence to my demons. He got them. They tormented him and spent time with him and love him, certainly more than they did me. Or, perhaps, he was more in love with them than I was, and he cared for them more -- gave them more space and time. I think he loved his demons of human darkness in accident, addiction, pleasure, unluck, and un-restrained-ego, amongst others. They are powerful. They cause much drama. They move much in the world, in fact, they may actually rule it, and yet most refuse to acknowledge their existence. If you are the type of person that understands this reality and faces it, you are destined to feel lonely. These are the demons that occasionally (once a year or so) attack me, and make me feel very alone.

Never, other than while reading DFW's infinite jest, and staring down at the abyss below Foresthill Bridge after a high school friend committed suicide from it, have I ever felt that anyone understood just how alone I occasionally feel in the face of human darkness. I felt alone that night on the bridge and moved on. I never felt that anyone understood just how alone I occasionally felt against my demons until I read Infinite Jest. He knew how I felt on that bridge. It's an ugly feeling and he wrote about it intellectually, analytically, as I would have if I had more time to spend with the demons (but who would seek that). I'm very thankful that R was there with me that night on the bridge to listen to me talk through my demons even when she didn't share them. I am blessed to have such supportive friends.

And now, in addition to the high school friend I lost. I've lost the companionship of DFW in the world. I am sad.

Again, I beseech you and yours -- if you are down, slow, depressed, feeling that there is no other option, or anything along those lines -- GET HELP IF YOU NEED IT.

That is all.

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