A few of the reasons this loss resonates so deeply:
- Wallace was young. 46.
- I loved his writing, in particular his essays. His writing entertained, challenged and opened my mind in a way few contemporary essayists have done.
- The world of American letters cannot afford to lose such a mind right now. Ever. But especially so young.
Suicide is the ultimate incomprehensibility, for myself at least. It is a negation whose profundity has no edges in the dark night of possible negations. It is the ink well, that once spilled, is spilt, irrevocably.
Yesterday S. and I watched Wings of Desire. It was the first time I had watched the whole film at once, without falling alseep, in spite of my dear friend C.A.'s attempts to the contrary in college. I can't believe I ever fell asleep watching this film. I may need to watch it again, if only to take comfort in Damiel and Cassiel's sorrow before human suffering's mundanities and extremes.
I am full of the echo of Cassiel's cry, "Nein!," when the young man with headphones jumps to his death off the roof. In the background, two people urgently rattle the gate separating them from the young man, their mouths contorted as they yell at him--ostensibly trying to dissuade him from his alluded act. Neither Cassiel nor the man can hear them, as Cassiel hears only the man's thoughts, and the man hear's only his thoughts and his music.
No part of me wonders what D.F.W. was thinking when he hanged himself Friday. That is a romanticization (in the purest sense) that I feel would be a betrayal of the greater calamity of the act. All I can see in my mind's eye is the emptiness of the room around him, how the vitality and energy must have been sucked out of it. How his wife's stomach must have fallen even before she entered the room, sensing the here-not-hereness that is being in the presence of the dead. But I cannot continue even this train of thought. Read not the romantic here: read only horror, confusion and sadness.
Today there is everything that there was yesterday, less at least one. Less more than one, but less one that lends me, particularly, the sense of what can be lost between sunrise and sunset.
If you, too, need comforting, there are many people voicing their feelings along the same lines on blogs around the Internet. Here's just one link to a line of comments where I found sorrowful community.