It's a strange sort of grief I am wrestling with here. I never met David Foster Wallace nor can I claim that he ever read a word or note from me, nor can I claim that he somehow saved me from myself. But I do know that for most of the past 20 years his work had served as a sort of beacon, a light in the darkness which gave direction and showed that there is some order out there, some purpose and point to slogging forward -- somebody else made it through to the other side, therefore so might you.
The best line I can think of to describe how it feels to think of DFW right now actually comes from a movie:
"I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend. "
-- "Red," in THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
Reading through those notes of and to Dave, I realize how I am not alone in hating the word "goodbye."