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« Middle Memory, A Day at the Beach [by Jennifer Michael Hecht] | Main | Tonight in Central Park: Tom Healy, Jehanne Dubrow, Terrence Hayes »

August 19, 2010


I saw/heard DFQ read at Olsen's Books in DC many years ago. He was kind, humble, and very entertaining. His essay "Tense Present" (Harper's, Apr 2001) is one of the best essays I've read about life in a postliterate society.

I too am a late-comer to DFW. After several postings about suicide, I did a bit a research and found an early essay he published about his lifelong struggle with mental illness (it seems to have gone beyond depression). He had written the essay while still in college and only part of it was available on line. More than anything else I had read -- and I've read a lot on this subject -- his essay gave me a sense of what it can be like to be in the mind of someone struggling with demons and unable to see a way out. That he was able to write about himself in such a way - unsentimental, clear - is part of his genius. It's a tragedy we won't have more of his writing. And I agree Eric, his "Tense Present" is brilliant. Thanks for this Eleanor.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

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