- Posted March 6, 2014 by
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"D. B. Wallace is a find as exciting in the telling as Wallace is in himself. He surely speaks to every human being who has ever been misunderstood."
--The Literary Times of ICG
D. B. Wallace was known to his neighbors as “the man in apartment 112.” He occupied this space for more than 40 years. Nothing is known of how he provided for himself. Nothing is known of his antecedents, of the existence of family or friends. In fact, it is virtually impossible to separate fact from fiction with respect to him. That he was talked about there can be no doubt. That those who talked knew anything of what they spoke seems improbable. It would be fair to say that he was something of a neighborhood institution and, as such, opinion was divided as to whether he was insane or otherwise mentally defective, whether an eccentric recluse or, as a slim few maintained, a genius preoccupied with his own muse. Moonlight Murder was his final manuscript. It seems to be unfinished, but some have found in it an intricate coherence that suggests the opposite. His corpus is currently being published in reverse chronological sequence. 40,000 pages of text—poetry, prose and this (what he called poetic prose)—were stacked about a deal table and chair. No indication was ever uncovered that any of the manuscripts was intended for publication.
Though the author of numerous novels and hundreds of short stories, Wallace always experienced the demands of plot as an artistic constraint. Plot, he maintained, creates the greatest possible distraction. A text, he repeats frequently in his notes, is like the smell of a cigar. It isn’t about anything other than itself, the “feeling shades” of being alive. He seems to have seen the loss of this intuitive awareness, as an aesthetic and a philosophy of life, as very much at the heart of contemporary global distress. It would not be fair to describe his work as pessimistic. His voice, so incredibly distinctive, seems informed at every point by what he himself called “the sacred.”
The manuscript has been here reproduced exactly as it was found, the occasional typographical error retained wherever the overarching meaning seemed clear.
—P. McCarty, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Cornell University
"You know too little and it doesn’t exist. You know too much and it doesn’t exist. Writing is drawing the essence of what we know out of the shadows. That is what writing is about. Not what happens there, not what actions are played out there, but the there itself. There, that is writing’s location and aim."
—Karl Ove Knausgaard
"I write this...and while I am writing it, led along by the movement that is the gift of the poem, I closed my eyes to my fault, which lies in transforming the poem (the poems) into a prose approximation."