Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Let's Read an Excerpt From the New David Foster Wallace Biography

Posted By on Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 3:18 PM

David Foster Wallace, the late writer of Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System and a University of Arizona alum, influenced a generation of writers with his hilarious, intelligent, dripping-with-irony-and-footnotes writing style.

But, as has been documented at length, Wallace fought depression and anxiety for 20 years, eventually succumbing in 2008 when he hanged himself in his California home.

Today, The New Yorker published an excerpt from a new David Foster Wallace Biography, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story, written by New Yorker staff writer D.T. Max, which drops in as Wallace begins treatment at Granada House, a rehabilitation and treatment center in Massachusetts, not long following his first suicide attempt and in the midst of alcohol addiction.

If Wallace found himself in unfamiliar territory, the residents didn’t know what to make of him either. One remembers wondering, “This guy can probably go to Betty Ford. Why’s he here with us welfare babies?” No one really cared for his cleverness. He was to them a type they’d seen before, someone who, like the character Geoffrey Day in “Infinite Jest,” tries to “erect Denial-type fortifications with some kind of intellectualish showing-off.” Wallace was back in high school, trying to figure out his place in the pack. “It’s a rough crowd,” he wrote Rich C., “and sometimes I’m scared or feel superior or both.” Yet a piece of him was beginning to adjust to the new situation. He remembered his last failed attempt to get sober and how he was no longer writing and asked himself what he had to lose. He came to understand that the key this time was modesty. “My best thinking got me here” was a recovery adage that hit home, or, as he translated it in “Infinite Jest,” “logical validity is not a guarantee of truth.” He knew it was imperative to abandon the sense of himself as the smartest person in the room, a person too smart to be like one of the people in the room, because he was one of the people in the room. “I try hard to listen and do what [they say],” he wrote Rich C., “I’m trying to do it easy … this time,” not “get an A+…. I just don’t have enough gas right now to do anything fast or well. I’m trying to accept this.”

To read the rest of the excerpt, see David Foster Wallace in Recovery: An Excerpt From the New Biography at NewYorker.com.

Tags: , , ,

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Previously in the Range

More by David Mendez

Staff Pick

Agustin Kitchen - Street Car Launch

Agustin Kitchen at Mercado San Agustin will be the center of celebration and fun in honor of… More

@ Agustin Kitchen Fri., July 25, 6-11:45 p.m., Sat., July 26, 6-11:45 p.m. and Sun., July 27, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 100 S. Avenida del Convento, Suite 150.

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. Video of Tucson Streetcar Ride Down 4th Ave Underpass (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Ted Nugent Endorses Dark Horse GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Frank Riggs (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Tucson Streetcar Facebook Parody “CLITT” Page Has City Fuming (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Jackson Needs a Home (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. When Drinking Liberally Goes Wrong: Tucson Group 86'd by The Shanty (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2014 Tucson Weekly | 3725 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation