It was just over two and a half years ago that my wife first handed me a copy of “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,” saying “here, I think you’ll like this.” I loved it. And thus, my life has not been the same since.
About this time two years ago my wife and I sat on our couch watching Nora Ephron’s Julie and Julia, the film that inspired me to begin this blog. And once again, my life took a turn in an unexpected direction.
Two years into this project, I am far from completing my goal of reading and blogging my way through Wallace’s entire canon. To date, I’ve only finished Consider the Lobster, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, The Pale King, and David Lipsky’s transcription of his week-long interview with Wallace, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself. In addition, I’ve written about a number of uncollected pieces ranging from short stories published in the New Yorker to his syllabus for and Intro to Fiction class.
This writing endeavor has been all I’d hoped for and beyond anything I could have imagined. I started this blog needing focus and discipline in my writing. Working toward a tangible goal has helped me gain those things, as well has helped me in shaping and developing my written voice. In studying Wallace and emulating his style and voice, I have begun to find my own.
But this journey has been so much more. It has opened up a world to me previously unknown. Because of this blog I stumbled upon the Wallace-l community, making many friends and engaging in wonderful conversation. For a time, I helped run the group blog, Supposedly Fun Things…, experiencing the ironies and absurdities of life with some of my fellow writers. And I was able to meet several listers in person for the first time at The Pale King release party at Skylight Books in Hollywood.
Writing this blog has given me opportunities I never thought I’d be afforded. Last spring, I was approached about participating in an online tribute to Wallace on Broadcastr.com commemorating the release of The Pale King. Shortly after this, I saw a post on Wallace-l requesting proposals for an academic conference focusing on The Pale King hosted by the University of Antwerp. It’s amazing what 500 words can do. My proposal was accepted, and a couple months later I was on a flight to Belgium to join some of the greatest scholars in the field of Wallace studies as we blazed the trail for discussion and criticism of Wallace’s final novel.
While in Antwerp I was inspired to take my studies of Wallace’s works in a new direction. A number of the presenters alluded to the religious, and specifically Christian, themes in TPK and others of Wallace’s novels. This was something I need to pursue further, and thus begins a new direction and focus in my blogging endeavors here. In order to write about these themes in his writing, I need to read and ponder the rest of his canon.
So with the new year just a few weeks away, I am renewing my commitment to see this project through to its completion. I want to turn this new train of thought into a book one day – The Gospel According to David Foster Wallace – and I will be diligent to finish this blog with that end in mind.
I still can’t believe where this blog has taken me, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
… And I invite you to continue this journey with me.