26 Days of Jest: Day 5

I swear, if I have to read another breackneck speech about the glories of playing tennis, I’m going to barf. DFW at times writes as though there’s a worldwide shortage of full stops (periods for any Americans reading) and he’s carefully doling out from his alloted stash. Words though. Have all the words. Just empty a thesaurus onto the page. Don’t get me wrong, I love an elegant, meandering sentence. But I’m also of the opinion that you need to be sparing. Make them elegant reading. Edit. Writing, like jazz, is sometimes about the notes you don’t play. (Almost a Lisa Simpson quote). And this chapter about Pemulis accomplishes that I think. Let’s go!

– Page 169. Michael Pemulis. Being shady. Do fallen leaves smell vaguely of suede? Hm.

– Page 170. “The incredibly potent DMZ is synthesized from a derivative of fitviavi, an obscure mold that grows only on other molds” so is this hinting towards the mold that Hal ate as a kid?  Okayyyy here’s Pemulis rocking up to Ennet House, which we’ve already read about. He calls Hal. Please commit a crime. Drug deals going down folks. 

– Page 172. “Grasp your friend firmly at all times.” Mario has apparently written and directed a film about tennis. Hal narrates. Weird how the narration mentions pretentious conversations at his Father’s screenings. Because, pal.  

– Page 175. His mother reads aloud to him from the OED? What a fun family. 

– Page 179. We are reading first person accounts from people staying at Ennett House. Funny and sad in equal measure. Then appears an account mentioning The Dealer With The Snakes. Dun dun DUN. That’s got to be the same guy, right? I was eating my breakfast when I read the chicken part, so thanks for that, DFW. 

– Page 182. Madame Psychosis, host of a midnight radio show at M.I.T. (which is also the name of that drug synthesised from the mould which may be the mould that Hal ate when he was a kid). Keep up. 

– Page 185. Nobody seems to have seen this woman. Her radio show is confusing, rather verbose and with a theme of filmography and sports. Rather like this book. Is a big reveal in the offing?

– Page 188. We get it, DFW, you know some shit. You don’t have to blind us with science. Really off putting.  

– Page 189. Good to read more about Avril, however briefly. I do like the rhythm of this piece though; the domestic scene interlaced with an the almost soporific recitation from Madame Psychosis. 

– Page 195. More of Ennett House and its inhabitants. These long, juddering sentences are giving me the howling fantods. 

– Page 199. The gym. Are Kornspan and Freer doing weights or having sex? Probably a bit of both. 

– Page 200. “That black and Hispanic people can be as big or bigger racists than white people”. Oh dear. 

– Page 202. Aha! “That what elsewhere’s known as Informing or Squealing or Narcing or Ratting or Ratting Out is on the streets of metro Boston known as ‘Eating Cheese,’ presumably spun off from the associative nexus of rat.” So THAT’S what that means. 

– Page 205. So those few pages were just a vehicle for DFW’s personal musings I think. 

– Page 208. I feel like DFW has a fascinated disdain of tattoos. 

So that takes us up to page 210! It occurs to me that not much has happened. Less of a white water rapid than being immersed in a very sluggish, dirty river of a book. Anyway shit in your wig, see you tomorrow! 

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