Blog page: 10

Suicide & David Foster Wallace

On September 18th 1 Comment covering , ,

I am still troubled and sad about the passing of David Foster Wallace — and I’m in touch with many others who share this feeling. It seems apropos to say a word or two about suicide.

It’s hard to keep away from the question of what the suicide’s real state of mind was — a question we can’t answer. A suicide leaves such a toxic stew of pain, guilt and anger among the survivors that one interpretation is that this is an act of terrific hostility and selfishness – a gift that keeps on giving, a massive stink-bomb of an exit. This is a hard thing to think about a person we love and esteem, and it’s not the only possibility. I do not think this of Mr. Wallace. Everyone says he was a thoroughly decent fellow, and there is some wishful thinking on my part. I do not want to be angry at him for doing this to his family, his wife, his students, and to all of us. Read more »

death by excruciating self-awareness

On September 14th 1 Comment covering

The world is a diminished place since last Friday, when David Foster Wallace killed himself. I am shocked and saddened, but should not be surprised. His fiction and essays are from a mind that finds self-awareness nearly unbearable. His public appearances showed that his literary voice was no contrivance — the paralysis of a hall-of-mirrors of a mind reflecting endlessly on itself seemed to be the painful condition of his life, even if it could make for wildly entertaining reading.

I don’t like the g-word because it invokes a magic status that takes us regular people off the hook for our mediocrities … but if he wasn’t a genius then there’s no such thing. I also have many reasons to believe that he was a mensch, a genuinely decent fellow and a gifted teacher. He had attained the sweet life for a literary writer: a MacArthur fellowship and an endowed chair at a college with earnest, bright students, a newly minted marriage, the fast track into comfortable grey eminence at age 46. All of us who love his work had hope, in the face of all the evidence, that he could become happy. Read more »

100 day plan with Group 8020: 72 days to go

On September 7th covering , ,

It’s been an interesting time in my 100-day process. Over the last week and a half it’s been much clearer to me what I’m trying to accomplish. The homework has gotten much more concrete and specific with respect to defining what I’m offering and what kinds of organizations would be the best fit for my skills.

This comes dangerously close to developing what I’ve lacked all along — a strategy for marketing. We psychologists are pretty terrible at this part, which is not an awful thing for the most part. If people have depression or anxiety or they’re repeating the same relationship problems over and over, eventually they’re going to know to ask around and find a good psychologist. Read more »

Chef Gordon Ramsay: organizational psychologist

On September 6th covering , ,

Here I confess one of my junk-food type indulgences. I’ve enjoyed the “reality” show featuring Chef Gordon Ramsay. Not the silly competition one — the one where he visits a restaurant in trouble and turns it around.

Never mind the foul-mouthed tough-guy persona. I’m impressed with how the show presents a case study in consultation. In each episode, the case is presented of a foundering restaurant. The consultant comes in and makes a rapid assessment. There is a tense meeting where he presents his diagnosis and treatment plan. He encounters resistance and overcomes it, and there is a happy ending (usually). Read more »

yay daydreaming

On September 2nd covering

On the first day of school, here’s a little something for all of my teachers who needled me to stop daydreaming. (I wanted to say “so say something interesting, then” but it might not have gone well.)