The Nature of the Fun: David Foster Wallace on Why Writers Write at Brain Pickings.
This is very true. I feel like I’m just now coming out of my vain period. Is anyone really though? No, I don’t think so. If you engage in this kind of platform [Tumblr], this enables vanity and it’s hard to slide out of it. I suppose the best reason, really the only purpose for this kind of space, is to share what you enjoy, find interesting, and what motivates you.
Wallace has me constantly trying to pay attention when I’m generally imprisoned in my headspace, barely finding time for myself. I’ve been terrible with it lately mostly because I feel like I’m just barely treading water with all of my requirements, meaning with the swim team, teaching, and writing. I’m letting slip simple daily things like making sure I don’t follow a driver too closely (I was in a car accident two weeks ago; everybody’s fine, but it’s an expense I don’t need), close a window, close blinds after it’s dark out, and my latest bonehead play: leaving the oven on. This is why I go back to Wallace when there is simply too much noise that I forget basic things.
Writing has always been a freeing exercise, I find myself trying to get through my to-do list as quickly as I can just so I can take a moment for myself, which usually means writing. It’s become too fleeting this semester, because when I am done with all of my daily requirements I can’t seem to concentrate for longer than a half hour. Whine, whine. There’s no point to any of it unless I make the time.
The full quote is here, and I suppose the best use for it is to break out of this funk, and to remember just to have fun. That this is fun:
The smart thing to say, I think, is that the way out of this bind is to work your way somehow back to your original motivation — fun. And, if you can find your way back to fun, you will find that the hideously unfortunate double-bind of the late vain period turns out really to have been good luck for you. Because the fun you work back to has been transfigured by the extreme unpleasantness of vanity and fear, an unpleasantness you’re now so anxious to avoid that the fun you rediscover is a way fuller and more large-hearted kind of fun. It has something to do with Work as Play. Or with the discovery that disciplined fun is more than impulsive or hedonistic fun. Or with figuring out that not all paradoxes have to be paralyzing. Under fun’s new administration, writing fiction becomes a way to go deep inside yourself and illuminate precisely the stuff you don’t want to see or let anyone else see, and this stuff usually turns out (paradoxically) to be precisely the stuff all writers and readers everywhere share and respond to, feel. Fiction becomes a weird way to countenance yourself and to tell the truth instead of being a way to escape yourself or present yourself in a way you figure you will be maximally likable. This process is complicated and confusing and scary, and also hard work, but it turns out to be the best fun there is.