“We fill all pre-existing forms and when we fill them we change them and are changed.” Frank Bidart
I have been reading a lot of David Foster Wallace lately and he is one of the few writers that I am always in awe of. His fiction is always able to depict a certain loneliness and isolation that is perfect in its own subtlety. It’s not in the same sense of the navel gazing of the Beat Generation writers which I devoured in my early twenties, and that as I age become less of an influence because of that precise lack of subtlety and egocentric perception of loneliness itself. And this is not a literary criticism piece either-I tend to leave that to professors and those “sophisticated” folks who use books like ammo to impress impressionable youngsters in a celebration of their own intelligence. Which to me is the equivalent of being a sports talk radio dj, or sports journalist, who falls prey to the hot take syndrome to boost their own importance over the sports and athletes they cover. Nor am I not privy to the inherent egotist value that lies in my own take on such others- but I am able to recognize that and hope I earnestly come through in this- which to be honest I have no idea where is going as I write down these words. I feel that loneliness in itself is a misplaced concept in this day and age. I send out words in hope of a connection, and as a way to protect myself from my own harmful thoughts, or those thoughts that drive me to numbness through alcohol. Yet these words are protected through the veil of this blog, and social media as a whole. The internet allows us a mask to present ourselves as a figment of our true self- it’s the same reason the twitter account of Sunny D can pretend to be suicidal to sell off brand OJ. Everything can me marketed and consumed even the idea of connection- it’s why Tony Robbins exists. He sells hope and success as a model that makes loneliness inherently evil and something holding you back. It’s why life coaches exist and peddle you the same self-help voodoo in slightly different packages. This is not to say these folks don’t help some because they do. But for the truly depressed, the truly disconnected, the ones consumed through suicidal ideation, or the soldiers still haunted by the horrors of a war they never left the ideology of buck up and think positive is no cure. DFW was able through his fiction to paint this picture so well because of his simple understanding of that ultimate desire to connect that our brains put roadblocks up to obscure. The same reasons we put up walls, self-sabotage, abuse substances, or push those closest away when we know a simple cure is front of us. It’s almost an allergy to our own self, because to realize our true self it must be in relationship to others. And for those lost in the lounge of loneliness there is nothing more nightmarish than others- a perfect catch-22. As I write I realize I am not anywhere closer to an answer to this loneliness conundrum other than I am not quiet as lonely as I was 35 days ago. Nor am I close to where I truly desire to be. Sometimes I still feel as lost as the narrative structure of this post, but at least I can be honest with my emotions about it. And send these words out hoping to connect with someone else feeling the same way today.