Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Quote of the Damn Day: David Foster Wallace

“I was really stuck. And drinking was part of that. And it’s true that I don’t drink anymore. But it wasn’t that I was stuck because I drank. I mean, it was more that—and it wasn’t like social drinking going out of control. It was like, I really sort of felt like my life was over at twenty-seven or twenty-eight. And that felt really bad, and I didn’t wanna feel it. And so I would do all kinds of things: I mean, I would drink real heavy, I would like fuck strangers. Oh God—or, then, for two weeks I wouldn’t drink, and I’d run ten miles every morning. You know, that kind of desperate, very American, ‘I will fix this somehow, by taking radical action.’ And, you know, that lasted for a, that lasted for a couple of years.”

"I was sort of a joyless drinker. I think I just used it for anesthesia. I also remember, I mean really buying into—I don’t know how much you yourself escaped this. But it’s fairly hard to get a book taken when you’re in grad school. And to get a whole lot of—to get your juvenile dreams fulfilled real fast. I think I had this idea of: you know, went to Yaddo a couple times. And I saw that there’s this whole image of the writer as somebody who lives hard and drinks hard. You know, is found in amusing postures in gutters and stuff. And I think when you’re a kid, and you don’t have really kind of any idea of how to be what you want to be, you fall for these sort of cultural models. And the big thing about it is, I don’t have the stomach or the nervous system for it. I get really, really drunk. Then I’d be sick for two days. Like sick in bed, like a bad flu. Just kind of debilitated.”

[I can relate to this on so many levels, especially the American radical action thing. It's such a part of my personality, so deeply ingrained.]

12 comments:

Ms. Moon said...

I don't like radical action. I like tiny baby steps. I like change one molecule at a time. I like to think about how slowly the flowers open in the spring when left to their own devices. I would rather be a wild azalea in the woods, opening so very slowly, rather than a forced tulip in a greenhouse somewhere.
The wild azalea lives a lot longer and has a more delicate and genuine beauty.
Boy. I'm sure full of the philosophy this morning.
Love you, Ms. B. Good morning.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Good morning, my dear Ms. Moon. I think it's wiser and easier on the system to change slowly, but it's just not my nature. I started running again the other day and made myself go run some really steep inclines. It's just my nature to be punishing. I do think it's very VERY American--this thing of extremes.

Ms. Moon said...

You know, you HAVE to be extreme to conquer an entire new world and get rid of the native peoples and shit. No pussy-footing allowed!

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Yes, exactly.

Syd said...

I didn't have the stomach or the nervous system for it either. I'm grateful for that.

Being very American has taken on a whole different meaning these days, sad to say.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Syd,
You are right about being American thes days, and it is very sad to say.

I do have the stomach and nervous system for drinking, but I have to say it is a pretty joyless activity oftentimes.

Love,

SB

May said...

What I take from this is how thoughtful and introspective he is. Even about the time that he spent trying to forget, he had to go back and figure out what it meant. Very self aware. The meaning behind the things. Of course, that's how I'm feeling right now so that's what I'm seeing. And of course all the parts about being a drunk, I relate with that too.

The Dish said...

I too can totally relate to this. Especially the drinking as anestesia (sp).

Jeannie said...

As a non-American in a fairly Americanized country, there is a kind of frantic "jump in with both feet" and embrace the "xyz" lifestyle - whatever that might be, going on down there. Like you have to decide to be a fitness buff, or a yuppy, or a "Christian" or a rock star and live the stereotypical life that goes with that. There isn't quite so much of that whole hog thing here in Canada. Canadians don't like to put themselves in little boxes and be told to be a certain way. I think. It's not quite as pervasive in many respects. Except that immigrants tend to cluster.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

May,
You are totally correct. He thought that you had to try and see things from new eyes because our culture is so auto-pilot oriented. You are quite right.

And I love you loads and think you are wonderful. Thank you for reading moi.

SB

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Dish,
Moi aussi, babe.

You are loved.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Jeannie,
I like Canadians quite a lot. Maybe this is one of the reasons why.

Love you loads!