Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A road trip with David Foster Wallace

If pulled into thirds my life's last chunk has been a wonderful gob of gigs. Like the other day when I stopped in and said hello to Mike, one of the best bosses I have ever had. We shook hands and traded smiles. "Just the guy I wanted to see" he said before asking if I could swing down to the Tri-Cities (3 hour drive from Spokane) early this morning to pick up 30 bags of cement. "Sure!"
Last night I sat in front of an endless sea of online audio books. Who? Who wants to join me on this road trip? Twain? I briefly considered his new autobiography but passed, too long winded for the road, was looking for something more edgy. Maybe some fiction? And then it hit me, DFW.  David Foster Wallace was a writer of extreme intellect and immense talent who battled the beast of depression until 2008 when he took his own life.
I will not pretend to be as big of a DFW fan as Terry, who I met while staying at Shakespeare and Company. Talking with Terry about Wallace, seeing how much he knows and appreciates Wallace's work I couldn't help but become interested. Admittedly, I have only dabbled for the most part, reading some of David's amazing essays, with the hope of mustering the mental dedication it will take to conquer Infinite Jest, DFW's glowing masterpiece of fiction.

In the end I decided to download Although of course you end up becoming yourself: A road trip with David Foster Wallace for my trip. It turned out to be a collection of recorded conversations that give a rather personal look into David's brilliant world. The book was written by David Lipsky, a Rolling Stone reporter at the time, who set out to interview the private Wallace shortly after the giant success of Infinite Jest. I wasn't even past Sprague Lake when I realized I had made a great pick. As it is an audio version, the book's long exchanges of taped dialogue (Q/A) between Lipsky and Wallace gave the awesome illusion that Wallace was riding shotgun.
Blazing back with bags of cement in the bed of Mike's massive pickup truck I can't say that this gig afforded me the same amount of insight that my apple run provided but the beauty of any road trip is that each one takes on a life of its own. This just happened to be one I will remember sharing with David Foster Wallace.

No comments:

Search This Blog