Tuesday, August 18, 2009

infinite summer, busy week

last week in my sick haze i picked up two untouched new yorkers. i read the talk of the town sections in each (i try to make sure not to miss anything by ben mcgrath, and more often than not he has something nestled in those front pages) and could not, for the life of me, get through a single article. i'm sure it's because i was sick and couldn't focus and certainly couldn't then deal with malcom gladwell, someone who almost always irritates me when i read him even though i generally like his work. and in tossing the latest new yorker i didn't realize i was trashing a double week issue so i probably should have kept it around because now i'm many pages ahead in infinite jest. basically, i actually have time for it.

also, i should have been marking more pages in IJ because i'll see a reference to something and then won't remember where i first read the reference, then i'll try to find it on the internet and then get bombarded by spoilers. even just trying to graze a website for the reference to the word in the fogged window led me to three different huge plot points that i'm not supposed to know about. basically, i'll be doing no more googling.
and one last bit re: IJ, i have decided already that i need to read this again. after torturing myself through the first 100 pages, analyzing everything, making sure i 100% understood every passage...i let go. i breeze through now (which is precisely why i'm ahead of schedule). i read it on the train, amidst a myriad of distractions and train conductor announcements. i'm not really absorbing a lot of the language and its beauty. i'm bypassing some of this to be practical, to progress, so that i may actually finish. but i've found myself hitting sentences like this and barely stopping to soak and luxuriate in them: "One of the really American things about Hal, probably, is the way he despises what it is he's really lonely for: this hideous internal self, incontinent of sentiment and need, that pules and writhes just under the hip empty mask, anhedonia*"

*This had been one of Hal's deepest and most pregnant abstractions, one he'd come up with while getting secretly high in the Pump Room. That we're all lonely for something we don't know we're lonely for. How else to explain the curious feeling that he goes around feeling like he misses somebody he's never even met? Without the universalizing abstraction, the feeling would make no sense.

DFW's genius is in his ability to write about feelings. To put into words most of the things even writers say aren't possibly to put into words. his sections about addiction and depression are so foreign but i feel them so deeply. on a physical level, i have never been depressed or addicted or gone through withdrawl but now i feel like i know, somewhat, the horrors. the depth with which he captures raw emotion is unlike anything i've ever read. it's draining and not at all satisfying. it's dark. i'm figuratively drowning in this book.

OOOOHHHH! this weeks new yorker! Hendrik Hertzberg on California; Ben McGrath on Michael Bloomberg; David Sedaris on singing; Tad Friend on the electric car; Sasha Frere-Jones on Leonard Cohen; David Denby on "Inglourious Basterds"; fiction by Dave Eggers; and more.
things overheard on the street this weekend:

dude 1: "BRAAAAD!!!!!"
dude 2: stop yelling, i told you it's not him!
dude 1: "BRAD!"

person who i hope was an actor doing a monologue over the phone but who i'm afraid was actually just a total loser because he said a lot of really outlandish things such as, "the muslims and the koreans. you gotta watch out for them. the muslims, they're blowing themselves up so they've got no credit, you know?"

this is a busy week, socially. our committee voted to endorse my rock star dude. a party with mark ronson (i don't think i ever wrote about my weekend in LA where he performed and i sat and just stared at him, mesmerized by his cuteness, also i highly recommend the mondrian as a hotel out there, totally blissful. get the huevos rancheros at the dos caminos there), a birthday dinner, a birthday picnic. sigh.

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