If you're reading this, chances are that you enjoy David Foster Wallace's work and that you may have become involved in the Infinite Summer blog, which is dedicated to reading and discussing DFW's mammoth novel, Infinite Jest.
This blog, directly inspired by that one, is intended as a footnote-like counterpoint to it, and dedicated to providing an alternative experience to reading - or failing to finish reading - Infinite Jest.
As you probably know, DFW gave a commencement speech to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College, which was widely circulated and quoted from after his death. It's been published in a marvelously compact form by Little, Brown and Company, under the title, This is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life.
In its published version, the speech is printed with only one sentence on each page. The speech is made up of 135 sentences (the book, with title page, is 137 pages in length). Given that Infinite Jest is 1079 pages long (including footnotes), each page a mass of print (How many sentences? The Infinite Summerians may know) - it seems to me that what we have here is a virtual alpha and omega of the DFW oeuvre.
The confession: Despite my eagerness to be a part of the Infinite Summer project, I gave up on Infinite Jest on page 178. (Using parens in lieu of a footnote, I'll note that I lived for 19 years at 178 Bleecker Street in NYC, so this page number somehow seemed a fitting personal literary Waterloo landmark.)
It occurred to me that there may be, among the many people who've attempted to complete Jest and failed (for whatever reason), those who were reading DFW for the first time - and thus may believe they "got" the David Foster Wallace experience.
I humbly suggest that This is Water contains, in fact, a generous helping of what is essential to this writer's greatness (i.e. his humanity), and I hate the idea that anyone, having only dipped into his long novel, would possibly deprive themselves of the Water experience.
You can probably read the book in its entirety in about 10-15 minutes. Its effects, I believe, may last a great deal longer - a day, a month... a lifetime?
It's my hope that this little site may become a forum for those who've read Water to share their thoughts and feelings about it, DFW, and whatever else may be related.
Come on in - the water is fine.