David Foster Wallace was sporadically,brilliant, verbose,an unrestrained word machine that seemed program to jump every rabbit hole and tar pit on his way to vaguely addressed Idea. His books could sometimes be the case of talking a subject to death;one might say that he wrote an alcoholic drank, which was compulsively, without any regard tot he consequences. An alcoholics consequences are the stuff of bad soap operas and the diseased thinking real people justify their illiberal behavior with; broken homes, broken promises,lost jobs, lies and more lies about the lies one has already put on the record, isolation, pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. Wallace's consequences were far less dramatic and, one says guardedly, less grandiose, but it's the results are dire all the same, which would be a sheer missing the point of writing at all and treat it as mere process with no real need to regard a reader . Wallace's digressions are legend and his attitude seemed to be that readers cold let him drive this metaphorical vehicle down any and all side streets, blind alleys and dirt roads and be there for the ride while he maintained a monologue of increasing irrelevance, or they could fuck themselves with their desire to be enthralled and remain at the equally metaphorical bus stop. He was depressed and stressed, having made it his writer's mission to contain the multitudes that swarm within him and without him; this was a quixotic task to notice everything about the universe he's chosen to parse, and in turn parse his own thinking about the characters he is giving a close inspection for. His was a virtuosity that couldn't end, as one item led to another item, a distracted description before a circuitous return to the scenario at hand , usually by way of another round of qualifications and self-doubt mongering about his chosen occupation of being a writer , the one who creates a document readers far decades from now will refer to garner something of the verve of the moment in which he lived.We realize , to,that DFW tried to contain these things in sentences, long sentences, many long, serpentine sentences that stretched , coiled, curled and eventually untied themselves by the time the author had exhausted, or more likely quit ,the tangent he was on. This was his problem in the longer books, the distractions, the digressions, Although I enjoyed large chunks of Infinite Jest ,, there was simply, plainly too much padding between the good parts; there have been especially intelligent discussion in many places of what traditions DFW falls in line with, and that his is a legacy that adds to the sprawling, decenter ed universe Thomas Pynchon has eviscerated so splendidly. But even Pynchon had some control and was not prone to introduce himself as the self-doubting author attempting to inject a trace of irony with bloated indecisiveness. Pynchon lectured at times, yes, gave us bounds of information about unexpected things and their history, but he trusted the scenes he created--his ruminations , his research, were the texture and color light in the crowded universes he chose to inspect. DFW , much of the time, was merely chattering all the while in his long novels , Infinite Jest and Broom of the System, and was, as often as not, tone deaf, not unlike one of those extended , unaccompanied Keith Jarrett piano impromptus where there is the inevitable and sad drift into artless noodling. DFW often made me think of the guy in back of you at a movie theater who kept talking during the movie; you had to deal with two soundtracks at the same time.
That, of course, might have been what he was attempting, something like a Robert Altman movie where the camera takes it all in and dwells on how inaction resonates among the furniture in is frame and where dialogues ,and city noise overlapped. It might be that Wallace's writing was an attempt to capture his own thought processes in action, as the notions occurred to him, in that proverbial stream of language and instinct where thinking about things are restless and fluid and nearly erotic in their intensity which can never quite be recorded in their abundance. Trying to get that on paper, in between book covers, obsessively , would be doomed to failure, with each book and short story judged by the author as inadequate to the mission. That would depress anyone, some much more severely than others.