My twin brother is the best friend I could ever ask for. Perfect hugs: he’ll surprise me with one and just hold me tight and silent for a long time. He drove over to my school from his school a few hours away for the weekend. He didn’t even want to go into the city, he just wanted to hang out in Bronxville with me. He interrupted himself to tell me that I looked pretty. He’ll just do that. He makes me feel special. He listens when I talk. Really listens. And seems to always know what to say when I need to hear it most.
In the most sincere, innocent and pure way, he makes me feel love like a child - with no inhibition.
"The Soul is Not a Smithy" by David Foster Wallace
Recommended by AGNI
Issue No. 91
TERENCE VELAN WOULD LATER BE DECORATED IN COMBAT IN THE WAR IN INDOCHINA, AND HAD HIS PHOTOGRAPH AND A DRAMATIC AND FLATTERING STORY ABOUT HIM IN THE DISPATCH, ALTHOUGH HIS WHEREABOUTS AFTER DISCHARGE AND RETURNING TO AMERICAN LIFE WERE NEVER ESTABLISHED BY ANYONE MIRANDA OR I EVER KNEW OF.
This is the story of how Frank Caldwell, Chris DeMatteis, Mandy Blemm and I became, in the city newspaper’s words, the 4 Unwitting Hostages, and of how our strange and special alliance and the trauma surrounding its origin bore on our subsequent lives and careers as adults later on. The repeated thrust of the Dispatch articles was that it was we four, all classified as slow or problem pupils, who had not had the presence of mind to flee the Civics classroom along with the other children, thereby creating the hostage circumstance that justified the taking of life.
David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois, where he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player. He received bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis. He received a masters of fine arts from University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996. Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College, and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion, the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers’ Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008. His last novel, The Pale King, was published in 2011.
About the Guest Editor
Like so many other ventures that first saw light in the counter-culture era, AGNI (founded in 1972 by Askold Melnyczuk) set itself up as an alternative to the status quo, a fly in whatever was the going ointment. Though much has changed and evolved, and though captains and crews have grown a bit older, we like to think that the founding spirit survives. Not so much as a politics, more as a feisty eclecticism, a welcoming of spirits from all parts of the world (we prize fine translation), and as an insistent celebration of the literature that represents the thorny complexity, the complex thorniness, of making a self in a world become “hyper” in so many respects. We look for language that gets our moment, that achieves excellence through the integration of perspectives, that strikes the note of the new. Our avatar is the Vedic god of fire, our goal is literary combustion.
About Electric Literature
Electric Literature is an independent publisher working to ensure that literature remains a vibrant presence in popular culture. Electric Literature’s weekly fiction magazine, Recommended Reading, invites established authors, indie presses, and literary magazines to recommended great fiction. Once a month we feature our own recommendation of original, previously unpublished fiction, accompanied by a Single Sentence Animation. Single Sentence Animations are creative collaborations: the author chooses a favorite sentence and we commission an artist to interpret it. Stay connected with us through our eNewsletter (where you can win weekly prizes), Facebook, and Twitter, and find previous Electric Literature picks in the Recommended Reading archives.