On Life and Work

My ratio of reading dead vs. living authors must be around 9:1. Why, then, do I have tears running down my face, why have I been sobbing, after reading the Kenyon College commencement speech DFW gave in 2005? Simply because the author committed suicide in 2008, during my own lifetime, cutting short his output of amazing work? I am confused by my own reaction to this death, four years after the fact. Before I read his work, I wasn’t affected to the extent I am now. But today I am moping around, tragically struck as if one of my own family/friends were silenced. Perhaps if I had been extant in the 40s I would have had a similar reaction to VW’s death? But perhaps it is the twice mentioned suicide within DFW’s speech that sets a particular teary tone for me; he lays out his map (although in reality hanging vs. the mention of shooting) and then executes it three years later. Perhaps it is the reflection of his last line, knowing the context of his no longer being with us: “It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive, day in and day out.”