Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
It is currently Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:52 am

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The Inficratic Oath: first, post no spoilers. Limit your I.J. discussion to only those events that take place on or before the page 981 (100%).



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 Post subject: DFW and Kate Gompert
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:50 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 12:55 am
Posts: 3
The section about Kate Gompert's depression was beautifully and heartbreakingly well-written; I found it very moving. After DFW's death I read a lot about his long history of battling depression, of ECT and pills, improvements and relapses. This section - especially the description of intense nausea as felt by every single cell and molecule in the body - helped me understand a little better. Of course, his suicide caused tremendous grief to his family, friends and fans but maybe it is a little bit easier to comprehend why he "didn't want to play anymore."


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 Post subject: Re: DFW and Kate Gompert
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:34 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 1:10 pm
Posts: 28
I don't think I can even write about this section...Just shattering.
I've never read anything that so exactly describes depression so accurately.
even his description of the word depression...
DFW sensibility about our "internal weather" is very similar to Murakami's in
KAFKA ON THE SHORE. i don't have the book in front of me but there is a quote that
sounds a lot like Kate Gompert.


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 Post subject: Re: DFW and Kate Gompert
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:31 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 6:52 pm
Posts: 8
Agreed; this section is heartbreaking, and beautifully written and insightful as to how depression is actually experienced. I liked the description of the psychiatrist, the way he gathered himself before entering the patient's room, trying to make sure he had the appropriate expression on his face. When I read that years ago, I felt that DFW must have had first-hand experience with this stuff; it seemed impossible for someone to nail the experience of depresion so precisely otherwise. It was not until after his death, and the articles by D.T. Max in the New Yorker and David Lipset (?) from Rolling Stone came out, that I realized the extent of DFW's first-hand experience.


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 Post subject: Re: DFW and Kate Gompert
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:23 am 
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This section was devastating. I don't think I've ever read a more visceral and truthful description of what depression feels like in my life. It made me anxious and uneasy for hours after I read it. As bupkiss said, it's obviously the product of first-hand experience.

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 Post subject: Re: DFW and Kate Gompert
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:59 pm
Posts: 28
Location: Maine, USA
In hindsight, the weight regarding depression that DFW was continually dropping throughout his career is kind of frightening. We have this heart-rending section of IJ, plus the short stories "The Depressed Person" and "Good Old Neon," both of which plumb the depths of depression/suicide with an eerie lucidity.


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 Post subject: Re: DFW and Kate Gompert
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:33 pm 
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"I'm not one of the self-hating ones . . . 'I'm shit and the world'd be better off without poor me' type that says that but also imagines what everybody'll say at their funeral. I've met types like that on wards . . . 'It's all self-pity bullshit. It's bullshit."

The way that DFW describes that 'self-hating' person, her feelings & the sadness that her imaginary suicide will cause everyone, is stunning. It's axiomatic that suicide is a difficult topic to discuss, explain, or understand. However every once in a while, a conversation with a friend or a perfectly constructed passage can articulate a feeling or idea that every human being can connect with.

This passage has that effect. Kate's words do not explain the mysteries of suicide. However, they do offer a universal connection for anyone who has ever had such 'self-hating' ideas.


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 Post subject: Re: DFW and Kate Gompert
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:45 am
Posts: 47
I completely agree with all the posts here. Lots of hints in his writings. Sort of like he was planning this for a long, long, time. Scary.


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 Post subject: Re: DFW and Kate Gompert
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:36 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:36 am
Posts: 41
Location: Oakland, CA
I have some thoughts on DFW and the Kate Gompert section on my new Infinite Summer blog at:

http://infinitetasks.wordpress.com/2009 ... biography/

I'd love it if you checked it out and let me know what you think!

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 Post subject: Re: DFW and Kate Gompert
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:30 am
Posts: 30
caroldelucia wrote:
I don't think I can even write about this section...Just shattering.
I've never read anything that so exactly describes depression so accurately.
even his description of the word depression...
DFW sensibility about our "internal weather" is very similar to Murakami's in
KAFKA ON THE SHORE. i don't have the book in front of me but there is a quote that
sounds a lot like Kate Gompert.


I couldn't agree more. As both a depressive and the owner of a psych degree, I found that both sides of this section (Kate's and the psychiatrist's) rang true.
P.S. It's nice to see a fellow Murakami fan! Kafka On the Shore was my first introduction to his work, and I fell in love hard. Good stuff.

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"It is easy to put on a show & be cocky. . . Or I can show you some really fancy movement. But to express oneself honestly, not lying to oneself. . . now that, my friend, is very hard to do." --Bruce Lee


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 Post subject: Re: DFW and Kate Gompert
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:13 am
Posts: 6
For me, this section was both heart-wrenching and exhilarating. My initial response to the passage was to find my mom, sit her down, and read Kate's dialog aloud to her. I've struggled with clinical depression most of my life, and she and I have both expressed frustration at her inability to understand what I was going through and my inability to articulate it. This section made me go, "Yes! This is precisely what I've been trying to say!" So for me, this passage is a godsend. It gave me words that I've so needed and has allowed me to communicate honestly in a way that was previously impossible.

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