Friday, January 8, 2016

WRITING IT ALL DOWN UNTIL THE LEVEE BREAKS



Ted Burke
David Foster Wallace is an interesting writer who is in dire need of a vicious but fair editor. He notices everything that is odd and potentially wonderful of ponder in his world, but he's able to organize his perceptions; he lacks the ability to discriminate what's actually interesting to a reader from that which is worth only a smirk and a snort for himself. A Supposedly Fun Thing works, I suppose, because its nonfiction and the pieces are short, but even here he doesn't take advantage of the compression. He goes rather long too often, and what's wonderful about his writing and his intelligence is lost. It is really too much work to sift through the giddy semiotics to unearth the verbal gems. Barthes himself had the good sense too- be brief in the columns he wrote for the French popular press.  

Ted Burke
Infinite Jest is perhaps the most exasperating novel I've ever read, along with being the most chronically overrated in contemporary fiction. It may be argued that he novel is about the digressions he favors, and that such digressions place him in line as being the latest "systems novelist", taking up where Gaddis, Pynchon, DeLillo and Barth (John) have led the way, to which I'd say fine, and what of it? The AA and recovery material is potential good fun, and the aspect of powerlessness over a movie ought to be enough for a writer to mold a sure satire, but Wallace seems far too eager to surpass Gravity's Rainbow and The Recognitions in his long, sentences, most of which in retrospect gave you the sense of what Allen Ginsberg's referred to as the Box Car effect, the cars of a train rushing by at great speed and, for  a period, seem to be without beginning or end There is so much contained within, so many things mentioned, so many things half described and given half contexts for qualities that resonate only a little, it becomes intoxicating for a bit, dizzying for many, impressive in the author’s ability to fit so much detail of tangible things into so many long, sequential sentences and still, stay within the ever-expanding idea of what good grammar and construction happens to be.


Ted Burke
 There are those this shows genius and perhaps it does, but it is the sort of genius I respect and admiring for the sheer will to took to connect everything inside one’s complete set of pockets with everything fleeting thought and arcane that makes an appearance in casual chatter or the slight movement of a body part, the turn of the head, for example, or the flick of a cigarette ash from a nearly dead smoke. The closest I could go is that it resembles Henry James at best, with heavy seasoning provided by Thomas Pynchon and his own going themes of Systems of Meaning and Organization and how that turns the study of history (or even discussion of what one had for lunch) into a unfathomable inquiry that blurs the subject just by asking the questions. The element of not being able to decide the underlying meaning of a storyline on the molecular level , the level of the sentence coming into being as the writer attempts to put the ideas, one following the other , into an appreciable order is DFW’s biggest break through. He links everything in grammatically readable sentences, but there is deluge rather than word flow and, if you’re someone committed to finishing every book you started to read as I used to be, you are eventually weighed upon too much by information that turns out to be a distended set up for a joke and no longer mistake the linking of things for coherence. The aforementioned editor I proposed would have handed the manuscript back with the observation that this set of multi-channeled satires has already been done by the previously mentioned authors whose works are not likely to be matched. Said editor would then advise that over-writing isn't the sure means to break with your influences, but that developing one's own style is.