The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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Lipsky Conversations about The End of the Tour

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.


Continue reading here...


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.


Continue reading here...

Last Updated on Saturday, 08 August 2015 15:04

A Tribute to David Foster Wallace

Ward Sanders' art tribute to David Foster Wallace, Howling Fantods: A Tribute to David Foster Wallace:

One cannot read David Foster Wallace without being obsessed by images that are absurd, insane, brilliant and starkly original. While themes of boredom and mindless entertainment might seem unlikely candidates for inspiration, Wallace provides a goldmine for the visual artist.  I am especially entranced by his ability to find beauty in obscure information, pointless lists, fragmented description, mundane detail and odd footnotes. His nightmarish (but often darkly hilarious) images from American culture are panoramas of a contemporary dystopia.  Howling Fantods attempts to pay tribute to this alarming vision. [...]

Howling Fantods: A Tribute to David Foster Wallace

Last Updated on Saturday, 08 August 2015 14:26

The End of the Tour July Updates

Updates 30/7/2015 - more below: Official Site. Press release here. NYC and CA release on July 31st - other venues to follow.

With the recent L.A premiere of The End of the Tour at the WGA Theatre this week earlier this month and slightly wider release on July 31 there's quite a bit of news floating around. I'll keep this page updated with links for the remainder of the month.

Just Words - A celebration of writer David Foster Wallace in anticipation of the film The End Of The Tour - Updated regularly in the lead up to the July 31 release

Links below added from 30/7/15


Keen for more about The End of the Tour?

Last Updated on Friday, 31 July 2015 00:08

Jason Segel on WTF Podcast Ep 623

Marc Maron (@marcmaron @WTFpod) interviewed Jason Segel (star of The End of the Tour) for this week's WTF Podcast: Episode 623. David Foster Wallace and The End of the Tour discussion starts around 59:00.

Segel speaks about getting the role, reading Infinite Jest for the first time as part of a book group, sobriety, fame, themes in Infinite Jest and heaps of other stuff.

Fascinating interview.


Last Updated on Monday, 27 July 2015 20:51

David Foster Wallace's Adderall novel

Daniel Kolitz has written an extensive piece for Hopes and Fears about The Pale King, specifically §22 (The Fogle novella), Attention without choice: David Foster Wallace's Adderall novel:

It seems Wallace wrote the first work of Adderall literature, a genre that has come to include Tao Lin’s Taipei, Stephen Elliot’s The Adderall Diaries, and (if tweets count as literature) about 30% of Twitter. Wallace’s piece never mentions Adderall, but it’s there, if you know where to look for it.

The piece in question comes early in The Pale King, Wallace’s unfinished, posthumously published novel-in-fragments. It’s a 98-page monologue (really, a novella) delivered by one ‘Irrelevant’ Chris Fogle, a near-derangedly prolix IRS employee. Fogle tells us of his self-described “wastoid” adolescence spent drifting in the post-Watergate ‘70s, an apparent wasteland of drugs, divorce and daytime television. He says that he “had no motivation,” that “everything at that time was very fuzzy and abstract.”


The FDA approved Obetrol in 1960, as a diet drug. It was meth, mostly, with some dextroamphetamine tossed in to distinguish it from the competition. Obetrol was just one of many drugs then ushering in a kind of golden age of rampant speed abuse. Truckers, hippies, housewives: Collectively they popped, snorted and shot the country into an outright epidemic, as detailed in Nicholas Rasmussen’s On Speed.


Did Wallace realize he was writing about Adderall? It’s not impossible: Anyone whose risked their vision reading Infinite Jest’s 8-print footnotes knows the guy had more than a passing interest in pharmacology. And by the time he started writing the Fogle section, in the mid-‘00s, Adderall was already a decade into its steep ascent, generating countless newspaper pieces on overmedication and undergraduate pill-slinging. Wallace—a well-informed adult working on a college campus—would likely have been aware of it.

Continue reading Attention without choice: David Foster Wallace's Adderall novel.


For more about the Fogle novella check out Matt Bucher's essay, The Fogle Novella: Catalysts in the Conversion Narrative,  that he presented at the DFW2015 conference earlier this year.

Last Updated on Saturday, 18 July 2015 00:30

DFW and the Short Things - Programme

The programme for the one day (July 8th 2015) University of Bristol conference, David Foster Wallace and the Short Things (previously) is now available here.

Looks to be a fantastic field for a single day.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 June 2015 23:14

The Fogle Novella - DFW2015

If you read to the very bottom of yesterday's post about DFW2015 you would have found a link to, A Few Trends in DFW Studies by Matt Bucher (of SSMG Press, list owner of wallace-l, Simple Ranger and generally all around DFW fan/expert and nice guy).

Matt also presented a paper at the DFW 2015 conference, The Fogle Novella: Catalysts in the Conversion Narrative, and it's pretty great.

It's no secret that The Fogle Novella is one of the standout sections, §22, of The Pale King and can stand alone as a novella. In fact Madras Press sell it separately as, The Awakening of My Interest in Advanced Tax, with proceeds going to Granada House.

This essay discusses the structure of Fogle’s conversion narrative, the catalysts that force a change in his story, and the similarities his story shares with early American Puritan conversion narratives. Fogle’s Section 22 is long enough and self-contained enough to stand on its own and so I refer to it in places as “the Fogle novella” or just “the novella.” Throughout Fogle’s narrative, there are three main catalysts that instigate change within his life: 1) his father’s “Ozymandias” statement, 2) hearing the As The World Turns tagline, and 3) the Jesuit substitute’s speech at DePaul. As a literary construct, Fogle’s narrative mirrors the structure of Puritan conversion narratives, which Patricia Caldwell’s work has shown to be a primarily literary form masked as a religious element. Fogle’s story arc follows a surprisingly similar pattern and still adheres to the greater project of The Pale King: boredom as religious experience.

Click here to continue reading, The Fogle Novella: Catalysts in the Conversion Narrative.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 June 2015 12:29

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