Tuesday’s Article (08-03-10)

In David Foster Wallace, Matt, Tuesday's Article on August 26, 2010 by Two Barbers Tagged: , , , , , ,

-David Lipsky reading from his book about David Foster Wallace. We apologize for the audio as well as the abrupt ending.  However, it’s meant to complement the content of the blog and so you don’t have to listen to the whole thing to get the point.


A Precursory Interjection: What we’re trying to do here is blend the formats for articles and blogs into a hybrid with an outcome being, if successful, something that is both functional when taken in parts and coherent when taken as a whole. Ideally, we’d take a completed article and cut it up into suitable chunks. However, we are starting from the opposing side (for this initial one anyway), with the single blogs that we plan to fuse together as we go along, which I could claim to be for the sake of experimentation, but the plain truth is I’m an awful procrastinator.  In fairness, though, it does kind of feel more true to form.

David Foster Wallace

1st Installment

‘How Everyone Feels’

David Lipsky is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone.  He has written a novel, a book of short stories, and two NY Times best-selling works of non-fiction.  He also contributes essays to the NPR broadcast All Things Considered.  A story of his was included in the 1987 edition of The Best American Short Stories.

Despite disregarding a few additional specifics, this is his professional bio.

In the afterword to one of his non-fiction books, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself (published 4/13/2010 by Broadway Books), which is basically a transcript of a 5-day interview with David Foster Wallace, he wrote this:

“He wrote with eyes and a voice that seemed to be a condensed form of everyone’s lives-it was the stuff you semi thought, the background action you blinked through at super markets and commutes-…”

Put another way, reading David Foster Wallace is like being a young kid and discovering that someone else has noticed something you had noticed, on a play ground or in a class, in the teacher or in the other students.  And it had been terrifying because it was large and incomplete, but seemed to indicate a flaw in the way the world was presented to you (not that you would be able to articulate it, even this crudely) and especially because you had pretty much assumed you were the only one who noticed it, which made you feel isolated and vulnerable to rejection.  And not only did someone else notice it, but that person interpreted it the same way, had the same feelings about it, and was just as excited to find out about your awareness of it as you were to find out about his/hers.

And then you both go on to find out that it’s not just the two of you, but a third person was having the same experience. And, furthermore, that actually the majority of people notice the same things and process them in roughly the same ways and are basically in the same boat.

Wallace does more than recreate this for you.  It’s like he holds the portal open, through the grit of his tour de force prose, giving you a chance to examine it in addition to just feeling it.

In this instance, it was David Lipsky, who nailed down exactly how I feel about David Foster Wallace’s writing.

-2nd installment, which will be considerably less disclaimer-laden, will come sometime over the next few weeks.  Please bear with us.


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