Sonora Review. Nachos. David Foster Wallace, I’ve Been Thinking On.

DFW used to edit Sonora Review.

They took my nacho essay a few days back.

I want to thank/think Josh Maday. He emailed me one night and asked if I would write about Nachos. The next morning I woke, drank 3.2 cups of coffee (I have never, and will never, eat breakfast), and wrote an essay about nachos. He said he liked it (but then again he had to say that, considering the awkward social logistics of asking for writing from an author). He said he might pass it on to Blake Butler, or something like that, I forget. I don’t think he did pass it on, but dude just had a baby and I’m sure the essay was about a 5 anyway.

I worked on it a bit. I kicked its burlap sack. I fed it rotgut vodka. I dropped a Chinese Embassy on the bomb of its existence.


The actual title is, “Someone Emailed me Last Night and Asked if I Would Write About Nachos.”

Moving on, I am happy to see the essay in Sonora. I figure AZ people most likely know nachos.


I had this for lunch today:

Nacho Rating 7 of 10. This is, obviously, a classic Plaza Zabala presentation, but I added white onions (chopped chunky), fake beef (soy), and pulled a half-hearted “Southern Cross” distribution of jalapeno and habanero salsas, alongside a slight spheroid shift with the tomatoes (hot house Romano bought off some old lady’s front porch). This is the first seven rating I’ve had in a while (actually March 21).

I gave these some care, folks.

Maybe because I am still depressed about DFW? I am, at heart, a southerner. We have “funeral food” and it holds an important cultural function.

Nachos are not a traditional Funeral Food for Americans, but, to quote my favorite jack-tar: “I yam what I yam.”

I feel like a 7 needs more, as far as rating. I could certainly extrapolate. I paid $11 for the cheese! Worth it, too. But the DFW thing has me weird. I don’t feel like blogging about nachos today.

Been reading the various DFW tributes, comments. A sampling:

L.A. Times

New York Times

Blake Butler

On and on and on….

Well, I am going to give my 2.4 cents, but not on the man (many have and will do this better), but rather on some of what I’ve read the last few days and hours.

Two things I do not admire:

1.) Comparing his novels, or his recent story collection, to his life. Somewhere in my mouth is the taste of nails, nails clumped together in a web of rust. The nescient absurdity–a few days after a writer’s death–of comparing and contrasting his/her actual life to their fictional characters is a bit much. It smacks of tea leaves, grave-digging, pseudo-thunk, knee-jerk (with emphasis on jerk)–overall insensitive nonsense. Let the graduate students of 2035 sip their PBR (vitamin/meth infused by this date) and make arguments between fictional personage and flesh of the author. It’s too early now. Too stupid. Too much, for me.

2.) Why did he do it?


Ok, I worked years as a registered nurse, in psychiatric hospitals and ERs, so maybe this one just thrums a tensile bone with me.

Asking, “Why did he do it? He had a great job, great books, adoring readership, blah, blah…” is absolutely obnoxious.

Why not ask the diabetic how in the hell they could fall into a coma when they had such a hot wife?

The cancer patient what the hell their problem was–“Ma’am, snap out of it, your Beamer kicks ass and gets quality gas mileage.”

David Foster Wallace was clinically depressed. Depression, at this level, isn’t about being sad, ok? It isn’t about your dog dying (that’s called situational depression) or a lack of sunlight (seasonal affective disorder), and so on. It’s about re-uptake inhibitors, serotonin, biochemistry of the brain.

To ask why is uninformed, at this point. I know it’s part of grieving–I am not addressing that why question. I am addressing the need to ask a dead man how, why, etc. based on the external realities of his life. The external is irrelevant here. This moment was internal, deep within the synapses and dendrites of the brain. To ask why in this milieu to cast blame–why, why, why, sounds like the screech of a nagging crow. Why is about you. Let these next few days be about David Foster Wallace.

I would like silence and books. Silence and books. Silence and books. If I can’t get that, I want a tree to topple over somewhere in Illinois, maybe in a pasture. I want the wind to scream along a gutter in LA and sing some hoarse song. I want some car-struck songbird to shake it off, to take flight disheveled, catch a draft, pirouette, with contrails of streaming vapor–to twine out a big-ass footnote in the sky: figure 8, 16, 24, exponential…

Damn, I am going to miss David Foster Wallace.

People should go read him right now. Just read him, his words. Just grieve that way. Then write. He taught writing; he helped writers along the way. Remember him that way. Just go.



7 responses to “Sonora Review. Nachos. David Foster Wallace, I’ve Been Thinking On.

  1. congrats on sonora review nachos. yeah, of course i sent it to blake, and then i took it back when you said sonora took it. it’s a hell of an essay. serious.



  2. Yeh Josh I’m just messing with you. If Blake wants something he can just ask. I have an old Kleenex around here, or maybe a bloody sock.


  3. the bloody sock sounds interesting

  4. you know i want something u kook

    horse’s cook

  5. Very good post here.


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