The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Antrim and Wallace

John Jeremiah Sullivan's piece in the NYT Magazine, Donald Antrim and the Art of Anxiety, includes a very moving story about Wallace supporting Antrim through hard times of his own. It turns out this is the story Antrim told at the 2008 NYC Wallace Memorial:


They told him they wanted him to undergo electroconvulsive therapy. He could take time to think about it. A nurse led him back into the hallway and down to his room.

The news destroyed him. Not because he didn’t believe them, that it was the best thing for him, nor even because he feared the pro­cedure itself (though naturally it terrified him to face it), but because he believed it would mean the end of him as a writer. That his talent would be scattered. His brains scrambled. The mechanism disassembled. Not to write? A living death. What would it even mean to go about your day?

Also he felt that it was, he said, “a confirmation that I would never leave hospitals.”

He sat down on a chair. “Not 20 minutes later,” he said, “a patient called out, ‘Mr. Antrim,­ there’s a phone call for you.’ ” He shuffled down to the phones near the medication dispensary. He picked up.

“Donald,” a voice said, “this is Dave Wallace. I heard you were in bad shape.”


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For more John Jeremiah Sullivan don't miss Too Much Information - his wonderful essay/review about DFW from GQ in 2011.

[Thanks, Matt, for remembering all the connections]

Last Updated on Friday, 19 September 2014 00:47  

The Howling Fantods