How is it possible to miss someone you’ve never met?
Characters are constantly either floating up to or falling beneath Infinite Jest’s surface and, on the whole, it makes for a soothing rhythm. When one character waxes, another wanes. You don’t really miss any of them when they’re gone.
Except but I read this passage about the absence of my favourite character earlier this week:
Now WYYY was back to running ‘Sixty Minutes More or Less’ without anybody at all at the helm. For the past several nights Mario has lain there in a sarcophagally tapered sleeping bag of GoreTex and fiberfill and listened to them run the weird static ambient musics Madame Psychosis uses for background, but now without any spoken voice as foreground; and the static momentumless music as subject instead of environment is somehow terribly disturbing: Hal listened to a few minutes of the stuff and told his brother it sounded like somebody’s mind coming apart right before your ears.
I’m feeling the loss that much more acutely, right along with Booboo (who doesn’t know he knows Madame P.) this week as I’m also reading this earlier passage for Drawing on the Infinite:
Joelle is thinking about what she has in her purse. She sits alone in her linen veil and pretty skirt, obliquely looked at, listening to bits of conversation she reels in out of the overall voices’ noise but seeing no one really else, the absolute end of her life and beauty running in a kind of stuttered old hand-held 16mm right before her eyes
What I keep coming back to – as someone who was a musician before he became irretrievably stuck in books – is that aural image (I also have synaesthesia, so I’m allowed to mix terms this way) of static, ambient, momentum music that is, itself, subject.
So here’s my ‘Sixty Minutes More or Less With[out] Madame Psychosis’ playlist. The first track does feature spoken voice, and it’s the only thing I can think of that’s even vaguely like listening to M.P. on air. For the rest you’ll just have to make do without.
Just for something a little extra this week (we’re halfway through the book now after all), I also have a download of some of my recent watercolours. You can grab ’em right here.
If there’s any music you know that feels, listening to it, like reading Infinite Jest feels: let me know in the comments below and I’d love to have a listen.