Select Page

vasacapsized copy

“I venture to say that most people most of the time experience the same four-o’clock-in-the-afternoon devaluation. But I have noticed an interesting thing. If such a person, a person like me feeling lapsed at four o’clock in the afternoon, should begin reading a novel about a person feeling lapsed at four o’clock in the afternoon, a strange thing happens. Things increase in value. Possibilities open. This may be the main function of art in this peculiar age: to reverse the devaluation.”

Walker Percy, Self-Interview, 1977


Probable Personal Facts about David Foster Wallace, assuming Personal Facts exist.
As gleaned and reinterpreted from a book event for Every Love Story is a Ghost Story with author D.T. Max.

— His official diagnosis was “atypical depression,” though his biographer seems skeptical. A diagnosis of “bipolar disorder” might be too garden variety for an exceptional person like DFW. He wouldn’t have wanted to be lumped into a lumpy lump like that.

–He was sober in Alcoholics Anonymous. He claimed that he had visited open meetings to research the recovery-based characters and scenes in his major work, Infinite Jest, but it turns out he was lying about that. (Lying for honorable reasons). DFW was a real, honest-to-goodness AA, and a very involved one. He had sponsees. He gave them quite a lot of love and support. Giving was a thing with him. Check this out: The Gift by Lewis Hyde.

–He tried really hard all the time. He was a try-er.

–He was a freaky genius and everyone wanted to get close to him. Naturally, he erected barriers.

–An observation: I saw that he wore a bandana on his head when he talked to Charlie Rose on TV. Maybe no one else ever did that?

So it was more than a four-o’-clock-in-the-afternoon thing for DFW. It often is.