If I have had a more enriching reading experience in my life than Infinite Summer has been, it was the semester I spent studying Milton as an undergrad with a professor who can be described as brilliant and probably on speed. That semester was intense and focused. I don’t know really how to describe this summer briefly other than to say that it’s been fun.
When I answered a call to write for Infinite Zombies, I had this to say (among other things):
I guess I shouldn’t try to sell myself as one who’s terribly likely to be prolific or brilliantly insightful. I’d enjoy having an excuse to write about my reading this summer and was already thinking (cued by Matt Bucher’s post at infinitesummer.org about his first reading) about putting something together about how I first got a taste of Wallace’s work. If you’re up for occasional casual (and probably not terribly probing) observations about the book as I go along, I’m game. If not, no hard feelings.
So much for occasional and casual and a failure to be terribly prolific, huh? I really had intended just to read the darned book and write something about it every once in a while. But as I began to anticipate the read, I started writing these little preparatory posts because I was the veteran reader of Wallace (among the Zombies), and these posts got me pumped up to write about what I was reading, and before I knew it, I was churning out 2-4 posts a week. Having the structure of IS to push me along really helped keep me honest, and then people started actually reading the stuff and responding back to me in the comments, and there was just no slowing down (or wanting to).
What I discovered about the little bit of something like accountability that came with having a schedule and a small following was that it made me a more careful reader, which made the whole experience so much richer for me. And while I didn’t have the mental bandwidth to keep up with the forums or all the blogs, the ones I was able to read provided that much more insight and incentive for me, showing me things I hadn’t thought of and often providing depth where my own reading (and writing) had been shallow.
So thanks for that. Thanks for reading and thanks for writing (here and elsewhere). And special thanks to Matt Baldwin for thinking this whole thing up and ushering us through the summer and to Scott Porch for dreaming up this blog venue. It’s all meant a lot to me and been a great experience.