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Home News by Category DFW Archive Inside David Foster Wallace's Private Self-Help Library

Inside David Foster Wallace's Private Self-Help Library

Make a coffee, tea, whatever. Sit yourself down. Take a deep breath.
Then read.
Maria Bustillos: David Foster Wallace fan, friend, and super human writer, visited the DFW Archive and produced this mammoth piece, Inside David Foster Wallace's Private Self-Help Library.
There is no quote I can provide to do it justice. Read it. (A couple of minor Pale King spoilers if you know nothing about it).
(Oh and tissues. You might need tissues.)


#1 david 2011-04-07 06:14
Just read the Bustillos article, posted a comment there (N.B. I am not a DFW scholar, have only read IJ and a dozen or two of the essays, but found parts of IJ very interesting, especially the Gately Character -- I think that DFW wished he was Gately but felt more akin to Geoffrey Day):

Re: Bustillos Article

What a disturbing but fascinating -- in the sense that one may be mesmerized by an object of horror or danger -- article. On the one hand, it's disturbing to look so closely into DFW's mind via his personal notations in self help books. On the other, it certainly lends depth to one's understanding of the man, although for me not particularly of the work of the man which I've read.

To me, if I recall correctly (and I think I do, although not near verbatim level) a particular sequence in the middle of Infinite Jest sums up most of what Ms. Bustillos came up with here. To the effect that Hal (paraphrased) realizes "...that he needs their love, but it's not about love, it's about their need to have someone come up from underdog and win, and to do it again, and again, and again, it's never enough..."
I.E. that "they" love you for what you do, not for who you are. Whereas in AA, they love you, see your humanity, just for being in the room...

Again, for me, this is the point of "The Entertainment," it's the point of all these painful, sad, musings of DFW in the Miller book, and one of the things that most people, especially those designated as "talented" early on, must deal with to be happy or fulfilled.

That all said, Ms. Bustillos, thank you for your work, I think. DFW, wherever you may be, rest in peace.
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