Word-Filled Wednesday. Without Pictures.

David Foster Wallace was a brilliant writer and a troubled man. His 1996 book Infinite Jest was named by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 best English-language novels, and he was called “one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last 20 years” by Los Angeles Times book editor David Ulin. He fought clinical depression his entire adult life, and during a particularly severe episode, he tragically ended his life at the age of 46. I discovered his work several years ago and was amazed at his versatility and style– and he was dang funny, too. I especially enjoy his essays and magazine pieces.

Today I stumbled across this little video put together by a company called The Glossary, in which they put visuals to a now famous commencement speech David Foster Wallace delivered in 2005 at Kenyon College. I think I appreciate it more now than the first time I read it, because in some weird way it kind of encapsulates one of the great lessons I am discovering since we have moved to a place that has a little bit slower pace. Turns out I now have enough breathing room to take a step back and realize that I CAN MAKE A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO CHOOSE to step out of my ‘default setting’ and decide what I think is important and what I will pay attention to. And for whatever reason, whether it’s the town itself, the people in it, my age, or where I happen to be in my life, living here has awakened a sense of community, connectedness and compassion in me, for which I am astoundingly grateful.

So take a few minutes and watch this, then tell me what you think…


4 Responses

  1. Barbara M. Lloyd

    The first thing that came to mind was “Boy, is he ever majoring on minors!”

    While I believe people do, without thinking about it, at times let their minds wander off in all directions as they do repeat performances in the daily grind of life…as he so aptly described it…..if I were a professional, I would believe that this speech alone is a perfect example of his clinical depression.

    Most everyone with more than one or two responsibilities in their lives has moments he has described; however, it is my opinion that a healthy mind does not dwell on it to his extent.

    Usuing you as an example, Tori, you might be standing in that grocery line and many things running through your mind that you still have to do, for example, but then you would turn to that person behind you and know her life history before you got to the check-out lady. Because you like people and find them interesting….well, most of ‘em. And, in the first place, if you were that hungry and that pushed for time, you wouldn’t be in that grocery line. You would be picking up salads from the Bell Buckle Resturant and grabbing one of those cholate pies in a black frying pan from that other place.

    As I said, that fella is so consumed with majoring with the minors he has missed every shortcut along the way.

  2. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Oh dear, please tell me I didn’t offend anybody…..it can be awfully lonely out here, ya know.

  3. tori

    Momma Lloyd– Never!

  4. bettyrwoodward

    Of course not Momma LLoyd. I for one haven’t be able to log in until today! This seems to happen sometimes. Sorry. You are not alone!

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