You know when you have that word rolling around in your head . . . like you say it to yourself over and over and pretty soon, like within ten or fifteen repeatings, it starts to sound weird, disjointed and meaningless?

Or maybe that's just me.

Anyway, I've had the word Foster rolling around my head for a bit.

I just noticed it was one of those words that was popping up a lot. Like, Arian Foster, the running back for the Houston Texans, or Foster's Freeze, which I'm not sure they have anymore, Foster Farms, which is the chicken to avoid, unless that's all there is, and if so, cook thoroughly.

Foster is also a verb.

It means to promote or develop.

It's also the name for the people who raise children that aren't their own.

Why anyone would ever do that is beyond me.

I have a hard enough time not strangling my own children to death.

Like if my children weren't MY children, I would straight up be like the dad in all the Grimm Fairy Tales.

Get out of the car kids and follow that trail into the woods . . . I'll be back to pick you up tomorrow.

I'd be lying.

Anyway . . . David Foster Wallace.

That's I think why Foster popped in my head.

If you don't know who David Foster Wallace was, you are absolutely forgiven. He was a writer, sort of avante garde, who made a big splash in the nineties with a novel called "Infinite Jest", he wrote some other things too, sold movie rights to some of his stuff that never made it to the screen and then one day, in 2008, his wife went to the grocery store and came home to find him hanging from the rafters.

That's gotta be weird.

Like one minute you're all excited because Safeway had a sale on the Strawberry Pop Tarts without the frosting, which were always your favorite, and the next image in your head is a dead body slowly swinging back and forth.

Sorry, now you have that image and I can't take it back.

The reason he popped into my head was because there is a new movie coming out that is based on a three day interview with him and a writer from Rolling Stone magazine.

The set-up is kinda neat. While traveling on the book tour, DFW and the RS writer have this long rambling conversation. In the end, the guy from Rolling Stone never wrote the article, but kept all the cassette tapes, and after DFW's suicide, he wrote a book about the experience that is essentially a transcript of that three day conversation. It a road trip/buddy comedy of sorts.

It's supposed to be really good.

But what caught my attention was the reverence with which all involved seem to have with David Foster Wallace. Apparently . . . he was this amazingly genius writer . . . especially to the kind of people who know what that even means.

I'd heard about him before. Like I could tell you he was a celebrated literary figure, but I'd never read a single thing of his, and probably couldn't tell you the name of anything he'd written.

Apparently there's a secret DFW club that hasn't gotten my new address yet.

Then something else popped in my head which was a memory of being at a big company meeting and the new CEO said something about reading David Foster Wallace which resulted in some hoots and hollers from a couple of tables.

I remember how disingenuous it felt. Like I had this picture of him in my mind sitting with his speech writer and the speech writer telling him that he's going to be addressing a group of hipsters so it's going to be important to mention David Foster Wallace in order to gain their confidence.

The whole speech was terrible. Dissjointed, pointless, and I remember figiting in my seat. I also remember shooting a sour look of concern over to my boss who just shrugged her shoulders and rolled her eyes.

That happened a lot. I'd get all chuffed about something and she'd pat my head and tell me to let it go.

I miss her sometimes.

Anyway, I also remember thinking that I should probably read DFW at some point in my life, cause I'm sitting with people who seem to be in the cool kid DFW crowd.

I honestly can't tell if I AM an intelectual or I just want people to think I am.

Like my best friend is a huge Faulkner fan . . . and it took me a decade before I decided to read Faulkner and I got almost but not quite a quarter of the way through "As I Lay Dying" before I decided I'd had enough of those characters for a nice long lifetime.

The early twentieth century is supposed to be the Golden Age of literature, but I gotta be honest, I could skip just about every book written after Mark Twain and before Kurt Vonnegut . . . and be just fine.

Golden Age my ass.

It's like there was this point where writers got the great idea to write about uninteresting people doing uninteresting things but written with such vivid panache that the characters all but come to life.

I'm thinking of calling it the "Tennesee Williams Syndrome" or the "Chekov Condition" or the "F. Scott Fits."

Why do people keep saying "The Great Gatsby" is good?

It's not good.

Rich twats to doing rich twatty things?

And why is it that everyone who loves it doesn't seem to notice it's a flimsy adaptation of Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo."?

Seriously? Even Fitzgerald himself spoke about his own genius and originality. 


It's like if I told you I had written a story about a young wizard who goes to a wizarding school in Canada and he's got a scar on his upper thigh, two best friends, and fights a dark wizard named Mort.

and you're like . . . OMG Genius!. So original.

If you haven't read The Count of Monte Cristo, call me and I'll send you a copy. It's really really good.

Though, just to warn you, you might end up being a Fitzgerald hater. It's okay . . . there's a club.

Anyway, that brings me back to David Foster Wallace . . . who according to the literati . . . and the semi-retarded CEO of a major coffee chain . . . is . . . like Fitzgerald . . . a literary genius of staggering originality.

I can neither confirm nor deny that . . . since I've yet to read a single word of his.

Actually, that's not entirely true. A few years back I saw his post-mortem unfinished novel at the local library and picked it up because I recognized the name and thought I'd give it a go.

Let's just say I got further into Faulkner than I did into DFW.

I wasn't prepared for it at all. I thought I asked for cream cheese on my bagel and bit into lox.

I'm not saying it wasn't good, but I certainly wouldn't take it with me to the pooper.

Reminds me of a Twain quote: "Wagner's music is much better than it sounds."

Right now I'm reading the book that is the trasnscription of the Rolling Stone interview and it's going well so far. I mean, he hasn't said anything revelatory yet, I have deeper conversations with my nine-year old on a daily basis, deeper and funnier, but he gets the benifit of my curiosity for now.

What bothers me is that my entire library system only carries one of his books (the unfinished novel) and the Rolling Stone interview, which is only available for digital download.

His books are decades old by now which means that either no one north of Sacramento has read him, or everyone who bought his books loved them and kept them, or, and I think this is the real reason . . . I think everyone who bought one of his books got about five pages in then decided they weren't quite in the mood that day but decided to keep them around so they can feel like the kind of people who own a David Foster Wallace book.

Hence no library donations.

Anyway,  I'll finish reading the interview book; I might check around with my friends or the used book stores for other titles. At some point I'll get to "Infinite Jest" (but probably only because that line is from Hamlet)

So I'm gonna have to leave you in the woods now.

I'll be back. 

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