The Ominous Arrival of the Pale King

So, I’m not joking about this at all: David Foster Wallace’s forthcoming posthumous novel, The Pale King (2011), which is not due out for two weeks yet, arrived early today in my mailbox. Now, if it had arrived at virtually any other moment in time I would have simply been pleased to receive something I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while, but for it arrive today, today, the day I finished the first complete draft of my (very long indeed) dissertation chapter on ole DFW, a chapter I’ve been working on for almost a year now, a subject I researched for months, and have been writing since about October. . . well . . . .

As I cannot help but be in high-gear-grad-school-dissertation-anxiety-mode, one might think the universe is trying to tell me something, and I’ve boiled down the universe’s message to the following possibilities: 1) Great job on getting that massive amount of work finished! On to the next thing (Pynchon), and oh, by the way, here’s a little (much appreciated) gift for all your trouble; or, the far more disturbing 2) Ha ha! Just when you thought you were done w/ something a 500+ pg. novel of the writer you’re working on shows up on your door to potentially confound everything you’ve been working on so diligently and single-mindedly on for so long you can’t remember what it is like to not work on DFW. Nelson’s taunts (from the ole The Simpsons) have nothing on the universe if it is indeed taunting me in this way.

All that said, 50 pp. in and it looks like #1 is the universe’s msg., though I still have 500 pp. to go, and knowing the nature of such complex entities as “universal msgs.,” I’m not hedging any bets. Stay tuned. . . .

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