Dear Reader Who Walked Into My Pie Shop With A Difficult Novel In Hand,

I asked you if it was Infinite Jest you were reading. You replied that it was. I asked you if it was your first time. You replied that it was. I expressed what must have a sheer excess amount of joy, glancing at your page and imagining how much as-yet-unseen beauty laid ahead of you in the pages to come. You asked me if I meant to say that I'd read it more than once. I replied I only wished that I had, as I'd been told that the novel was more than doubly powerful upon re-read. You said you loved his work, and I -- manic with glee -- interrupted your sentence to ask you if you'd read any of his other works; you replied that you had read The Pale King, and I made motions implying that I had as well while silently cursing myself for never finishing it, disappointed that you hadn't said The Broom of the System as I would have had far more impressive things to say about that one, but I couldn't dwell for very long since you were revealing that you had come to Claremont from hundreds of miles away to see the house in which he had died (725 Indian Hill Blvd. Claremont 91711 CA, I recited to myself), which he had written down in the -- and this we said at the same time, though you winced when it happened while I grinned -- "Author's Foreword." And now I was caught in a crude caricature of one of His infamous double-binds: I was swooning at the fact that you were of my ilk, willing to journey far for a glimpse at genius, and I wanted nothing more than to sit down at your table, abandon my previous life, and begin anew with you, and at the same moment I realized how violently I was bothering you, knowing that I would have felt just as perturbed if I had sat down in what seemed to be a nice enough place to get through a few more segments of the Difficult Novel I was reading only to be bombarded by interrogatives at the hand of an overzealous food service worker. After I had finished speaking the few words I hadn't bothered to remain conscious of during my contemplation of the pros and cons of staying or leaving, I told you I would quote-unquote let you get back to it.

And I bid my adieu.

My dearest Reader, may I never see you again. For I can only hope that the thoughts spurred forth by the experience of consuming that Difficult Novel will lead you far, far, far away, far from any place that's near here. My dearest Reader, I can only hope that He can do for you what He did for me.

Sincerely,

KR
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