The Pale King

So,I haven't had much inspiration to write any fiction lately,the few stories that I have are deeply meandering,have blurry characters whose dialogue I've trouble imaging but what always helps me in all of this is reading a bit of DFW. David killed himself in 2008,supposedly after years of depression and anxiety,and I think his mental turmoils show in his writing,he is usually very concise in the shorter pieces compiled into books,but his novels are a mess of epic proportions,a mass of erratic direction redeemed by small nuggets of pure genius.

He was amidst writing The Pale King in the time leading up to his suicide apparently,and the draft was left at his desk for collection by his editor,who in his foreword notes that the published version is barely edited,full of abrupt parts that fit nowhere,is immensely confusing and the book ends suddenly. I'm only a quarter-past The Pale King and true enough,there are already characters with unexplainably long names who make single cameos,there is a sense of incredible tedium as he goes through the people,places and broad anatomy of Tax and the IRS,but in between chapters there are instant,very gripping moments.

I don't know DFW or why he chose to leave the way he did,but as someone who writes fiction,I think I have some insight. People sometimes dismiss fiction entirely because by definition,it is made-up,fueled by a writer's imagination and liberty to create,mend and destroy,but we use those tools to normally dress and embellish the core truths of our unsaid fears,regrets and so on. Any piece of (fiction) work I choose to publish online or anywhere else,is in so many ways personal,I've invested more than just time on it.And The Pale King gives a small idea of who DFW was,there are brief chapters of purported fiction that mimic his earlier struggles,then there's a chapter that alleges the entire book is in fact,not fiction,things like these.

I feel a lot of grief and sadness as I turn each page,knowing this will be his last book,he is the most amazing writer in my opinion,and so much of how I write and what I do is influenced by his works that I've read. Prior to reading Brief Interviews,I wrote with caution and wrote to many unspoken rules,but after discovering DFW,I realize the human psych is an animal you can freely unleash into your writing,let it roam and live in the jungle of your imagination,let it take the shape,feel and voice it chooses to. The consequences are secondary to the kind of honesty and creative output you will observe in your writing.

I hope The Pale King will be difficult and rewarding as Infinite Jest was,and I dread the day I finish this book and once again realize,that he is forever gone.


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