July already. What with the baby growing (almost nine months old) and the job in a busy-period, life is constantly moving forward, fast and always in new directions. Look away long enough and, look again, it should come as no surprise that it’s knee high time in the corn fields.
But I’m not lost in the fields, son. Those stalks are not tall enough yet anyway. No, I’m lost in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, which happened to be published while DFW lived among the corn fields, in Normal, Illinois, circa 1996 (before subsidization). I was in high school in Normal at the time, but too busy playing basketball and not reading to have even heard of DFW let alone imagine that, all these years later, I would be sitting around reading his epic book.
But after wanting to read it for a number of years, despite my better judgment, I decided to pick up IJ on my Kindle. It was sometime around the beginning of April. Soon thereafter, in the midst of my busy life, I was hooked. And now, three plus months later, I’m a mere one-third of the way through.
On reflection, I cannot say that, yes, this point in life is an ideal period to tackle such an epic, meandering, and, ultimately, difficult book. There are too many diapers to change, meals to cook, and too many hours to spend holding the daughter. But is there ever an ideal period in life for such a piece of literature? Probably there was. But like I said, I was too busy with other things.
In any case, I will say that I’m happy I decided to lose myself in it. Reading IJ, one is constantly rewarded, scene upon scene, with beautiful prose, creative writing mechanics, tragic and touching stories, fantastic humor, enlivened characters, et cetera, et cetera.
Along the way, I have still taken time to read other stuff: short stories, flash pieces, essays, the WaPo (home delivery, actually), and other quick online reads. Of course, I still routinely watch film, one or two per week. And I still plug away at my own writing regularly.
But still, but the point is that I’m lost in IJ. Ahh, how refreshing, I’m lost in art. Being absorbed in a piece of literature, for this long, at this point in life, there’s no better word to describe it than refreshing.
Of course, eventually, I’ll find my way back to another novel. In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging away at this great piece of contemporary writing. And though I look forward to finishing this work sometime in the distant future, I don’t care how distant. Let it go on. Let me absorb myself even further, deeper into this novel. And, if you’ve put off reading IJ just as I had, I’d recommend putting it off no longer. Just jump right in. No matter the life circumstance you’re in currently. ‘Cause it’s great fun, this being lost in Infinite Jest.
 DFW grew up nearby Normal in Champaign, Illinois, so he was certainly familiar with the corn fields himself. Familiar too with the ol’ saying, “Knee high by the fourth of July.” But really, who isn’t?
 I first heard about the text from my now ex-girlfriend’s brother, sometime around the year 2003, and was instantly both drawn to and repulsed by the idea of reading such a lengthy book. The girlfriend and her brother lived in St. Louis and I was living in Normal and working at an insurance company, working the phone lines. I recall telling a coworker, Dan, about my hearing about DFW and hearing him (Dan) tell me that he had DFW as an instructor several years back when he (DFW) taught courses at Illinois State University. I was thrilled to hear that DFW resided in the same town as I did. I guess it’s one of those strange tendency’s we experience where we have an affinity toward someone that we know is from where we are. Now, living on the East Coast, I experience this type of affinity each time I encounter someone from the Midwestern region of the country.
 Reading humongous texts on a Kindle is highly recommended, especially if a solid chunk of your reading time occurs in a chest-to-back and shoulder-to-shoulder type of train crowd en route to/from work.
 I spent so many hours playing basketball that I developed a keen sense of awareness on the basketball floor, to the point that I didn’t even have to look at the hoop when I shot the ball, I just sort of shot it. Later, I spent so many hours downing Jim Beam w/Coke’s that I developed a keen sense of awareness around any bar I entered, to the point that I didn’t even have to call out my drink when I approached the bartender, I just sort of stood there and somehow they figured me out.
 In fact, my wife and I just finished with Werner Rainer Fassbinder’s film, Berlin Alexanderplatz, an unusually great and epic work of art in its own right. Delivered in 13 parts with an epilogue, BA introduces us to a great character who will not soon leave my psyche, Franz Biberkopf. Part of the reason he’ll not be out of my head is that the wife and I go around the house constantly throwing his name into our dialogues. Like, for example, “Hey Rachel, Where did you put the–Franz Biberkopf–mayonnaise? I can’t seem to find it.”