David Foster Wallace
Roscoe Fox a Liverpool based musician who first gained recognition for his electro tinged bedroom pop on Soundcloud. Now the first artist to sign to new label odyXxey, he has recently released his first single Three Candles. For Hook's Love Letter series, he chose to write to David Foster Wallace - a writer who is as polarazing as he is influential. Read his (not so loving) letter below:
You are an unavoidable trap of interest, and a disappointingly problematic figure. It seems like a cruel joke that you sit here, nonchalantly, within a list of my favourite writers, as Woody Allen waves at you from below.
When I think of reading you, I think of the floating and confused position late adolescence places you in, and I can’t resist the truth that this memorable yet horribly unsettling feeling was softly and sweetly drawn and quartered by your writing and maybe even more greatly by your interviews. And although, as is detailed, your private life had its overbearing problems, the way you executed your public persona, however forced you were into creating that said persona, was a relief for me, and a structure I could safely bear my head under. The character of David Foster Wallace, the D.F.W that I came to know through the decisions the real, private D.F.W created with what to say and what needn’t be said, was a person I am so deeply happy I met. I know that me and public, published persona David haven’t ever conversed or shook hands, but the things his voice presented are something that I know I cannot forget.
Yes congratulate me, for reading that long one, it’s sad that a novel can rise into the dullness of being a pop culture object, become manhandled into such a small concept. I read Infinite Jest over the space of 12 months in my final year of college. My half hour walk home from class was made up of one unending straight line, so i’d burrow my head into the book whilst walking along my routes relatively thin pavement. Among the many times I did this, I can say, learning processes kicked in and I only hit my head on passing lampposts less than 5 times, and even less did I softly bump a passerby, but my deepest apologies goes out to those victims. It was in those times, feverishly trying to keep a page from slipping out of my grasp in the windy weather (the route was very flat), that I learnt things, and realised that I wanted to learn things, that it wasn’t stupid to feel like there were things to be learnt.
And of course it was too late, my years of education were nearly over, I had wasted a lot of the time that I could have spent, applying myself and finding reason. I can’t only blame myself, I wouldn’t be the first to say that there’s many problems with the system, but it did make me realise that not everything has to be virulently resisted and protested, or straight out ignored. As your writing tries to show, not every answer lies in irony and cynicism or some kind of ultimate detachment, you don’t have to be ahead of every judgement, or sitting above them gazing down. You can find beauty in the banal. Criticism is easy. That mindset relaxed many of the parts of me that were confused with what to do next, all the things I expected of myself.
Maybe what I’m trying to say, put across is, how specifically the writing of you helped me relax, feel more collected, and maybe even mistakenly feel like I knew what was wrong and what was right with me. Before this everything was ready to be wrong, and it still is, but less so now.