DFW, flame-keeping

There’s been a slow turn in the privacy of unpublished manuscripts. Kafka knew Max Brod wouldn’t burn his papers. TS Eliot married an executor who would keep his secrets. David Foster Wallace knew that taking his life would release The Pale King to the world in whatever form his next-of-literary-kin deemed fit. And release him from it.

I don’t know at what point it became clear to me that life’s escape velocity marks something profoundly banal, an overwhelming sense of just-can’t-be-doing-with rather than a doing, but it’s not a sensibility that bears long acquaintance. Perhaps you can take pictures, compare for critical purpose with ‘negative sensibility’, get the full range of ‘[a]t the bottom of the abyss is what few ever see, and what those cannot bear to look at for long; and it is not a “criticism of life”‘… at bottom is the bottom, and it’s where writing stops.