This blog is welcome to anyone and everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Unless you don't like writing short stories or smelling bear. Or if you voted for the other guy. Also, I don't really like it when you leave up the toilet seat, so could you stop doing that? Muchas, muchas gracias.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Babe Alert: David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace, author of many outstanding story and essay collections, fan of all things David Lynch, "genius grant" winner -- and I hear he also wrote a couple of novels -- this guy is 100% babealicious. I mean it.

Dashing hotness aside, Wallace wrote one of my favorite stories ever. Included in his collection Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, it's entitled "Forever Overhead." The story takes place on the main character's thirteenth birthday, much of it narrated while, for the very first time in his life, the boy stands shivering in his bathing suit, his toes gripping the nose of the high-dive board. At the bottom of the access ladder, a long line of other divers wait impatiently for their turn. The boy's position becomes a metaphor for the anxiety and pure elation of crossing that threshold we call male pubescence. The membrane that separates boy from man, air from water, is pierced in one short, brimming moment.

Here's a ratemyprofessors review written by one of Wallace's lucky Pomona College students:

He really cares about helping his students to improve, and I learned a lot from him. Because he's pretty eccentric, his reactions to emotional elements of stories and essays can be kind of mind-boggling. Exhaustingly brilliant, very demanding, definitely worth it if you're serious about writing.

And oh my, is he ever serious about writing. Wallace is a supreme grammarian and stylist who not only uses extensive footnotes, but he even footnotes his footnotes, which leads me to believe we are a match made in heaven (or we will be, once I master Chicago style documentation).

Not only does Wallace have a great pair of legs, but he's ubercompassionate, always considering the reader. The purpose of fiction, he says, "is to give the reader, who like all of us is sort of marooned in her own skull, to give her imaginative access to other selves." Which, if you think about his use of the second-person narrator in "Forever Overhead," the reader gets full imaginative access to the House of David, including the fridge, the pantry, and the well-stocked freezer. Yowsa, wouldn't you say?

I haven't ever been within shouting distance of this elusive and handsome writer, but the imaginative access he mentions above could well be as sensual an experience as, say, waiting an exquisite forty minutes in line to have him sign your copy of A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. Rest assured, dear readers, his fingers would be strong, his nails meticulously trimmed. Perhaps, too, they smell of lemon and tennis courts and unboiled lobster.Until the day we meet and, inevitably, fall in love, I'll leave a candle in my heart's window. A superfantastic magic candle that doesn't burn down, I mean.


Blogger lryicsgrl said...

I'm coming to the wedding.

Now HE seems like dreamworthy material!

1:33 PM

Blogger ginab said...

HaHa...I saw him Re-ead in Ann Ar-bor.

He wore the same bandana; I think the cutie-pie pic dates. At the time, 1996 or so, for Infinite Jest, he was eyeing a woman who was tanned and blushing and carrying two tennis rackets. He was all into tennis at the time. I think she was his pudding pie (in other words). I wonder what she's doing now?

1:56 PM

Blogger ing said...

You most certainly are coming. The ceremony will be extremely short, as we're really there for the music and champagne, si?

1:58 PM

Blogger ing said...


I'm off to the tanning booth, then. Hope those karate lessons do something for my backhand.


2:00 PM

Blogger ginab said...

No, but I really do wonder what she is doing now...

PS: the dog mug goes in four days.

PPS: I was tempted to use the egret for my mug; boy, wouldn't I be soaring!

2:19 PM

Blogger ing said...

Back from the tanning booth.

You are an egret, my dear, soaring ginabfriend.

Do you wonder, though, about the "she?" I haven't given it a second thought, really.

2:41 PM

Blogger ginab said...

Probably, everyone is out shopping. Hmm. For their loved ones, both tan and pale, and oh yes of every hue.

It's a silent night. It's snowing here. Oooooh-silk!


7:58 PM

Blogger josh williams said...

He thinks your cute too. anonymous

8:15 PM

Blogger matty said...

If he has any sense, he will sweep you off your feet as quickly as possible!

I need to read some of his work. I love the idea of that story!

I'm reading 7 books right now -- what would 1 more matter?!?!

...and, yes, he is so totally hot in that picture! ...much better choice for you than Gary!

10:47 PM

Blogger JackJumpedOverTheMoon said...


You talk about so much I haven't read! This is awesome. I'm learning all over the place in this blog!

(loves new stuff)

10:57 PM

Blogger ing said...

Oh, Josh, I'm blushing. . .

9:35 AM

Blogger ing said...

Matt: Yes, I imagine I'd make a grander entrance on Mr. Wallace's (well-muscled) arm than on Gary Coleman's.

9:38 AM

Blogger ing said...


And I'm learning a lot about Charlie Parker, who liked to eat fried chicken, I hear.

9:48 AM

Blogger matty said...

Charlie Parker is awesome!

Hey, so I was going to email you first, but I don't know how. So, I want to link your blog on my site. Hope that's cool -- if not, just let me know.

Love your site! Fun, great taste in art and lot of great new information for me regarding things I need to read!!!

a tip of the hat,

11:14 AM

Blogger crusher said...


7:31 PM

Blogger Chuck Dawson said...

Bird was the man.
I wanna play with Branford, Fleck, and sometimes Keller Williams.


7:35 PM

Blogger Chuck Dawson said...

Did your site have a makeover, or did I drink too much cough syrup again?

7:36 PM

Blogger ing said...


And a hat-tip to you. Those movie images are awesome, especially the Malkovich.


I worked on the site, but I prefer to think that the Robitussin is treating you well. May you never cough again.



8:06 PM

Blogger josh williams said...

Who can not like the bird? As far as cough suppresents? I have a friend from years in the past that was prescribed some sort of cough suppresent that was so effective he was instructed not to eat while under its "spell" because if he choked on some food his cough reflex was pretty much coput.(sp) I go to bed now.

10:22 PM

Blogger ing said...

Josh, you write my kind of book reviews. Keep going in that vein. Faaaaaaantastic.

11:35 PM

Blogger ginab said...

selfishly, I am testing out my new mug shot.


12:56 PM

Blogger josh williams said...

Thanks ing , I'm quite proud of my unique little insights into the authors minds.

1:22 PM

Blogger E.L. Wisty said...

Hi Ing,

Sorry haven't checked your blog before. I will mend my ways from now on. Just wanted to say hi. And oh my, is he indeed babealicious (what a great word). Your description of him - his writing that is - makes me want to read his books. Thank you!

2:43 PM

Blogger JopySchmopy said...

Oh definitely, Wallace is great. He's right up there with Martin Amis. People will be reading and studying their stuff for centuries. I hate them and want to be them.

7:13 AM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home