"These aren’t showy passages. Just unusually precise descriptions of things we all do and see. We enter and recognize the modern-day office environment: “the desk practically an abstraction. The whisper of sourceless ventilation.” Friends left behind in a small town are imagined “selling each other insurance, drinking supermarket liquor, watching television, awaiting the formality of their first cardiac….
"Like all good citizens, I’m with those who wish to resist romanticizing his suicide, but there remains a sense in which artists do expose themselves to the torrents of their time, in a way that can’t help but do damage, and there’s nothing wrong with calling it noble, if they’ve done it in the service of something beautiful. Wallace paid a price for traveling so deep into himself, for keeping his eye unaverted as long as it takes to write passages like the one just quoted, for finding other people interesting enough to pay attention to them long enough to write scenes like that. It’s the reason most of us can’t write great or even good fiction. You have to let a lot of other consciousnesses into your own. That’s bad for equilibrium."
- John Jeremiah Sullivan Reviews David Foster Wallace’s Last Novel, ‘The Pale King’: Books: GQ
Just got around to reading this review and it rules: Read here.
I have to write a short profile. 350 words. These profiles should be easy by now, but I’m at that most daunting stage: after you’ve had a great interview (or two, or three), before you’ve organized that research into some semblance of coherency. All students of Blanche, devout and passive alike, know the best thing to do at this point: type the work of the writers you admire. My profile should and could and will be nothing like these leads, but these leads are just so appetizing…
FRANK SINATRA, holding a glass of bourbon in one hand and a cigarette in the other, stood in a dark corner of the bar between two attractive but fading blondes who sat waiting for him to say something. But he said nothing; he had been silent during much of the evening, except now in this private club in Beverly Hills he seemed even more distant, staring out through the smoke and semidarkness into a large room beyond the bar where dozens of young couples sat huddled around small tables or twisted in the center of the floor to the clamorous clang of folk-rock music blaring from the stereo. The two blondes knew, as did Sinatra’s four male friends who stood nearby, that it was a bad idea to force conversation upon him when he was in this mood of sullen silence, a mood that had hardly been uncommon during this first week of November, a month before his fiftieth birthday.
-Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, Gay Talese, Esquire, 1966