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He struggled with those entities himself and was famous among his acquaintances for living mainly on packaged foods. This involved an English muffin, a bag of grated cheese, and a jar of red sauce.I made it, but I thought he was being completely unreasonable.” But the man did not eat vegetables, so I couldn’t do either.
I’m not sure how clearly it can be said that his struggles with the book contributed to his death, but any writer who has had a hard time finishing a book knows it’s not great for their mental health.
Wallace once called “Westward” a “suicide note,” and I’ve found that prophetic.
I’ve come instead to the inelegant belief that pretty much the most important thing you can do with your day is make dinner, for your family or friends if you have them or for yourself if you don’t.
Do that, and the other stuff mostly falls into place.
In order to cook for him as part of my ongoing Eat Your Words column here at , I couldn’t make my usual kind of food.
I wanted to echo the fried roses from “Westward” by stuffing and frying edible flowers.That wasn’t my story with him, possibly because I never did write him.Some days later, at the launch party in New York City, he asked me to go back to his hotel room afterward. I saw him once more at another party, months later (in the basement of a Two Boots Pizza in the East Village, if memory serves), and I avoided him, even though he followed me and tried to strike up a conversation when I went outside to smoke.I let many opportunities slip by, and it’s no huge surprise that I flaked on an invitation to correspond with my literary idol or that I fled from a personal relationship that I would have liked to explore.At the time, my best guess on how to fix the things that were obviously wrong with me was to read more books. Wallace never completed another novel after , published posthumously, is unfinished.couldn’t cook, though it wouldn’t have occurred to me to consider this something we had in common.Wallace, who died by suicide on September 12, 2008, ten years ago today, burst into fame in the late eighties with experimental metafictions that took on the modern junk culture of advertising, celebrity, addiction, and alienation through technology. Max, is littered with information like “he lived on chocolate pop tarts and soda” and “he had a love of showering, Diet Dr Pepper and blondies” and “there were only blondies and mustard in the fridge.” In 1995, the journalist David Streitfeld saw a kitchen with little more in it than a case of Dinty Moore beef stew and elicited the confidence from Wallace that “what’s really sick is I like to eat it cold.” For my part, I was a noncook to such an extent that my boyfriend, fed up with making meals for me, once angrily coached me through making him a dish he called toaster-oven pizza.(That interview is still available online as part of the Wallace minor arcana and was just republished in August in an updated edition of Melville House’s The Last Interview series.) The writer crush I developed on Wallace had come to me full-blown when one night, reading alone in my first New York apartment, anxious and probably hungover, I sobbed my way through the end of “Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way,” the last story in the 1989 collection.“Westward,” seen today with the jaundiced eye of adulthood, is a creaky metafiction about students in a fiction writing class whose plot, to the extent it has one, is about a road trip to a Mc Donald’s ad-campaign reunion.That pierces you, makes you think you’re going to die. ” I was forced to haltingly explain what I thought the story meant, at which point he said yes, I’d gotten it, and seemed even more pleased.Eventually, he gave me his mailing address in Normal, Illinois, and asked me to write him letters.