Farther Away

“And boredom was what I was suffering from. The more you pursue distractions, the less effective any particular distraction is…”

I read this article last night by Jonathon Franzen and was taken aback. He hit on so many emotions I have felt throughout the past year. Franzen escapes from the imprisonment of our society by traveling to a secluded island where he finally confronts the suicide of a dear friend, David Foster Wallace, a writer as well.

“In the summer before he died, sitting with him on his patio while he smoked cigarettes, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the hummingbirds around his house and was saddened that he could, and while he was taking his heavily medicated afternoon naps I was studying the birds of Ecuador for an upcoming trip, and I understood the difference between his unmanageable misery and my manageable discontents to be that I could escape myself in the joy of birds and he could not.”

After reading this piece, I’ve been drawn to read two novels Franzen kept referring to, Robinson Crusoe and Infinite Jest.

During his seclusion he wrote the following in his diary, and I imagine this would be a realistic circumstance if you were isolated in the wilderness.

“I had a certain fly (at least I think it was the same one) buzz around my head for a goodly long while this afternoon. After a time I stopped thinking of it as an annoying, nasty insect and subconsciously came to think it an enemy that I was really quite fond of and that we were just playing with each other.”

Franzen is an amazing writer and I connected with his piece. If you’d wish to read it yourself, here is the link.


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