"If you can think of times in your life that you’ve treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable as human beings. The ability to do that with ourselves. To treat ourselves the way we would treat a really good, precious friend. Or a tiny child of ours that we absolutely loved more than life itself. And I think it’s probably possible to achieve that. I think part of the job we’re here for is to learn how to do it. I know that sounds a little pious."
-- David Foster Wallace
An indelible portrait of David Foster Wallace, by turns funny and inspiring, based on a five-day trip with award-winning writer David Lipsky during Wallace’s Infinite Jest tour
In David Lipsky’s view, David Foster Wallace was the best young writer in America. Wallace’s pieces for Harper’s magazine in the ’90s were, according to Lipsky, “like hearing for the first time the brain voice of everybody I knew: Here was how we all talked, experienced, thought. It was like smelling the damp in the air, seeing the first flash from a storm a mile away. You knew something gigantic was coming.”
Then Rolling Stone sent Lipsky to join Wallace on the last leg of his book tour for Infinite Jest , the novel that made him internationally famous. They lose to each other at chess. They get iced-in at an airport. They dash to Chicago to catch a make-up flight. They endure a terrible reader’s escort in Minneapolis. Wallace does a reading, a signing, an NPR appearance. Wallace gives in and imbibes titanic amounts of hotel television (what he calls an “orgy of spectation”). They fly back to Illinois, drive home, walk Wallace’s dogs. Amid these everyday events, Wallace tells Lipsky remarkable things—everything he can about his life, how he feels, what he thinks, what terrifies and fascinates and confounds him—in the writing voice Lipsky had come to love. Lipsky took notes, stopped envying him, and came to feel about him—that grateful, awake feeling—the same way he felt about Infinite Jest . Then Lipsky heads to the airport, and Wallace goes to a dance at a Baptist church.
A biography in five days, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself is David Foster Wallace as few experienced this great American writer. Told in his own words, here is Wallace’s own story, and his astonishing, humane, alert way of looking at the world; here are stories of being a young writer—of being young generally—trying to knit together your ideas of who you should be and who other people expect you to be, and of being young in March of 1996. And of what it was like to be with and—as he tells it—what it was like to become David Foster Wallace.
David Lipsky is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker , Harper's Magazine, The Best American Short Stories , The Best American Magazine Writing , The New York Times , The New York Times Book Review , and many other publications. He contributes as an essayist to NPR's All Things Considered, and is the recipient of a Lambert Fellowship, a Media Award from GLAAD, and a National Magazine Award. He's the author of the novel The Art Fair , a collection of stories, Three Thousand Dollars , and the bestselling nonfiction book Absolutely American , which was a Time magazine Best Book of the Year.
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|Title of eBook: Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself|
|Release Date: 04-13-2010|
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Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself
tuesday before class
in the living room, playing chess
his dogs slinking back and forth over carpet
You were saying about the tour that while we travel, “I need to know that
anything that I ask you fi ve minutes later to not put in, you won’t put in.”
Given my level of fatigue and fuck- up quotient lately, it’s the only
way I can see doin’ it and not going crazy.
[Drone—he’s got two dogs—is chewing on the chair David sits in.
He now has an unlisted phone number, because of fans.]
I don’t know if “fan” would be the right word . . .
[Looking at bookcases . . . He had a board out, and is eager to play.
So we are playing chess.]
I think when I was twenty- five this was what I wanted. But . . . I
don’t mind it now. I mean, I’m proud of the book, I’m glad the
book is getting attention. Stuff about me is (a) makes me uncomfortable
and (b) is bad for me, because it makes me self- conscious
when I write. And I do not need to be more self- conscious. Oh,
fuck me! It takes a while for me to get in a groove. I honestly don’t
know what’s gonna sort of eventuate here. Well, fuck! (Looking at
Little, Brown bought both the hardcover and the softcover rights
at the same time. I think I could make a lot if I took an advance for
the next thing, but I can’t do that, so . . .
[He’s not interested in money for next novels, which friends have
said is the wisest course. I talk about my own friends—people
he knows too—who arran...