I just found out that David Foster Wallace died. Unfortunately, by his own hand.
Suicides by writers are uniquely unsettling situations, at least if they, like Wallace, bared their soul to the public for our perusal so many times. There’s a collective complicity. So many thousands, probably millions, of people saw that he had that tendency because he told us. And somehow, he wasn’t stopped. It’s irrational to think that way—a suicidal person’s nearest and dearest are often unable to stop it, even if they know it’s a strong possibility. But still, the whiff of complicity is there. Maybe it’s because writing is always an uneasy transaction between the writer and the audience, well at least if the writing is personal in any way. You’re sharing with the world what is commonly expected to be held to your heart or only shared with your intimates. You can write something and publish it for strangers to read, but you wouldn’t speak it at a cocktail party. That’s a tension that’s never going away.
Condolences to his loved ones.