My first experiences with David Foster Wallace were stutter steps. Almost in the way that you don't see something until you're truly ready to see it. I tried several times to get through Infinite Jest but was never serious enough about it. Then last year I read DFW's biography 'Every Love Story is a Ghost Story' by D.T. Max and was determined to get through Infinite Jest next. It took me six months to read and I loved every word.
The attention it took to read this book, following Wallace through footnotes and a magnitude of characters with fears and doubts as real as my own, brought me out of the haze of passive reading and propelled me into the world. Not just the world that Wallace creates but the real world with which he is trying so desperately to communicate. It opened up my eyes to the lives of other people in our simplest interactions. I read it at the age of 30. It was the alarm that woke me up to being an adult: putting aside the apathy and angst of childhood and becoming a part of society, as challenging as that can be day in and day out. Allowing the world to teach you, to hurt you, to change you is what will push us forward as people and as a society.