There's an incredible amount of publicity, review and opinion swirling around The End of the Tour. I'm finding it difficult to keep up. Regardless, I've spent the past week or so watching twitter re-tweeting and saving links for a few special collections.
Thus, trying to pull together some thematic threads I'll start with a couple of articles where we hear directly from David Lipsky (author of Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace).
From the Awl we get to join David Lipsky and Maria Bustillos at a screening ofThe End of the Tour where they discuss differences between the book and the film, memories of Wallace and so much more, Although of Course You End Up at the End of the Tour:
MB: So, satisfy my curiosity about this: These two guys, in what we’re seeing, in a minute’s conversation, they’re speaking maybe two percent of the actual word count that took place, I’m guessing.
DL: That’s right. That conversation over pizza, we’re talking about Tolstoy, and it was one thing I really wished had been in the movie. The challenge, he says, is: “I have received five hundred thousand discrete bits of information today, and I have to decide on the twenty-five that mean something to me.” And he’s saying that before the Internet. That was one of the things we talked about the first night that I would have loved, but I guess there wasn’t room for it.
Ponsoldt is a great director who is perfect about how people talk to each other. I could tell that he would be great for this in the same way I knew that Margulies would be great writing the script. He is able to make whole plays out of just people talking. He won the Pulitzer for Dinner With Friends, but he did this great play about artists called Sight Unseen, just two artists talking over a weekend.
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And for Time, Jeff Giles interviews David Lipsky, David Lipsky on David Foster Wallace and The End of the Tour:[...]
Time: Why did you decide to turn the tapes into a book and did you have any contact with the family?
DL: I did. When Wallace died, Rolling Stone called and asked me to write about him. At first, it was too sad to think about. Then NPR called, and said that when people die by suicide, there’s always the risk of it shading how they’re remembered. One of David’s great gifts is how alive his writing feels, and it seemed that could all go gray. So I talked about him on NPR, and I wrote about how it felt to be around him for Rolling Stone. David’s family read the piece and emailed about my maybe writing something longer. They are wonderful people—as brilliant and alive as David was. I think what they hoped was that he be remembered as a real, living person. And I wanted to write a book that helped. I asked my publisher if I could pause on the other book I was writing, and because they knew it was important to me they were very nice about giving me time. I sent David’s family the manuscript before it went out to my publisher. I said I wouldn’t do it unless they liked it.
Continue with the Time interview here...
And if you'll indulge me... let's jump back in time to when I posted this little Q&A with David Lipsky here on The Howling Fantods back in March 2010:[...]
NM: There are way more of those “singing along to REM” moments than I expected. You and I had previously spoken about how candid and open he was during your time. But I hadn’t anticipated how much it ends up being like a totally enjoyable road trip / buddy flick. Did it feel that way to you?
DL: It did, and I’m happy that’s how it felt to you, too. The main thing I wanted for the book was to give readers the experience of going on a trip with Wallace, being with him minute by minute. He was astoundingly good company. There’s a friend of his—the editor who brought him to Harper’s—who’s talking about hiking with David through Manhattan.
“Sort of gee-whizzing everything, amazed by everything. He was so much smarter than anyone, including you, and yet his attitude was, he was genuinely pleased to be wherever he was, most of the time. If he was with a congenial companion. Amazed and interested in everything. How could he write what he wrote if he wasn’t looking at everything all the time? And you got to be in his senses, so you got to see more. He’s using all six and a half senses at once, which can drive you crazy. But he shared it with us, which was nice of him to do. Talking to him was a delightful social experience, and also a literary experience.”
That’s what the trip was like. You felt charmed, lucky, and alive to be in his company—even when we were just smoking cigarettes in a doorway, making traffic complaints or joking about the safety guide on the airplane, or he was threatening that if I did a bad job with the writing, “I have twenty years to get you back.” And then he was actually very helpful about how I’d do it. He keeps switching the tape off and on, as he drafts the way he wants to describe his life. We walked into a Denny’s, I’m describing it into the recorder, and he’ll add, “High proportion of people wearing caps, too.” I was surprised Denny’s had a smoking section, and he Wallacized it: “There’s even a chain-smoking section at Denny’s.”
(One thing I hope is in the book is how funny he is. He’s talking about movies: “Tarantino is such a schmuck 90 percent of the time. But ten percent of the time, I’ve seen genius shining off the guy.” “Cameron would be making so much better movies if they gave him a seven, eight-million-dollar budget on each one. And said, you know, ‘Do your best.’”) So I’m really happy that’s the feeling you got. The book really is supposed to be you going on one trip, from start to finish. It seemed like the best way to let him tell his own story—how and why he became a writer, how he started, how everything felt. But there’s this other, softer thing, which is just getting to be around him.
And then there was the funny stuff of the trip being so hard: our airport getting snowed in; having to dash up to Chicago; having the escort in Minneapolis be so, in her way, comically weird; having to rush to the reading, driving home late, walking his two dogs. (“You get instantaneous production from the Jeevester,” he says. “Drone’s a much tougher nut.”) It wasn’t like any other experience I’d ever had, so compressed and so wide.
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