From Citrus Colors to Kate Gompert’s Gray Lonely

Infinite Jest Project: Phase 3 (p 1-100) photography by PD Rearick
Infinite Jest Project: Phase 3 (p 1-100)
photography by PD Rearick
Kate Gompert really knows how to sink her teeth and hands and heart and feet into things. She has extraordinarily displaced tenacity. AND she has a brooding sexiness. Kate is a form of stationary proof (that isn’t a term— I made it up) in Infinite Jest. Proof that tenacity is attainable. People care most about how to find tenacity, not necessarily what type of tenacity in the moments when they have forgotten how to have tenacity at all.

For humans being so recently nomadic, not moving (nearly at all)—definitely has boldness to it. It is contrast. It is the idea that a person will likely die from not moving before they would die from being attacked. David Foster Wallace uses contrast to emphasize how extreme we can be in our differences and motivations. What happened in your head when the story shifts from the hot, bright and active tennis courts to Kate Gompert’s gray lonely? Check out the shift of colors and subjects between the two stories:

citrus colors
fresh yellow
white sun-umbrella
hair white

blue jeans
dark-blue boating sneakers
green or yellow case on the plastic pillow
black bangs
pink Quiet Room
blue gum
gray lonely

For the first forty-something pages, keeping track of the colors helped me focus my way into getting hooked on Infinite Jest. On my second read (I wasn’t kidding about getting hooked) the list of colors became a clearly condensed narration of Infinite Jest when paired with the nouns they described. They also became a condensed depiction of the extreme transitions between stories. I think, in a way, it made the stories unfold more rapidly than they would have if I were not taking notes.

So what is revealing itself as you read? Have you thought about keeping track of anything in particular as you read, and how? My notes started as a focusing device and became an art project. Then the Infinite Jest Project somehow got me to try social media, and Infinite Jest readers got me to stay.

And this is how and why I’m here.


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5 thoughts on “From Citrus Colors to Kate Gompert’s Gray Lonely”

  1. Brilliant call on Kate!
    I’ve been following your project for a while now and I love how different and meaningful the angle has proven to be. Besides, I’m writing a piece about the communicability of depression using Kate Gompert ‘s introduction chapter (and Wallace’s ‘The depressed person’), and it’s really helpful finding quality views on the character.
    Thanks for sharing, Corrie. Keep it up.
    Saludos desde España,

    1. Alejandro,

      Thank you for your note. The “communicability of depression” is a powerful thing. If you are up for it, I would appreciate the chance to see what you write for the piece.

      Your note reminds me of the way some liquids are able to make their way through glass. I think oil does this. So, a person, even when trying to contain their emotions–inevitably leaks or reveals something of their state of being.

      to your projects this week,

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