Saturday, September 13, 2008

It was such a shock to learn about David Foster Wallace's suicide. He had been teaching in Claremont, about half an hour away from me, since 2002, and I had harbored the secret hope that one day we'd cross paths. I didn't think we'd become best friends or anything--he'd probably see me as annoyingly earnest--but I still wanted to meet him, this post modern legend, and let him know how much I admired his work. Now that I'll never have the chance, I wish I had been more bold--I wish I had at least sent him a fangirl email. I wish I had not assumed that I'd have years to bump into him.

His death and the recent Metrolink crash remind me how quickly and unexpectedly life can be taken from us, from those around us. It makes me want to savor each minute all the more, to tell those I admire how much I appreciate them, to hold those I love even closer to me in this brief beautiful time we have together. I think about the last lines in Mary Oliver's poem, The Summer Day:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
I want to never forget how precious each moment is, how lucky I am to be part of this wild, amazing planet. And I will try to be more brave and not let opportunities for connection or action pass me by.

1 comment:

catiporter said...

Thanks for posting this, Gayle. I was shocked to hear about David Foster Wallace, too, and the train crash, as well as Reginald Shepherd....

I love that quote from Oliver -- I stayed up well past my bedtime night before last and read her Red Bird cover to cover.