Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace

Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace

author: David Lipsky

name: Steev

average rating: 3.89

book published: 2010

rating: 5

read at: 2012/03/02

date added: 2012/12/30

shelves: own-it, spirit-self

This is a fascinating read, at least if, like me, you're a fan of DFW, and interested in thinking about what makes creative and tortured people tick. This book is an amazingly transparent document of a few days spent with Wallace, mostly just a transcript of everything said while the reporter's tape was running. But as such it's really great, because Wallace shines forth as a genius, as a dork, as a dog lover, as a really nice guy struggling to stay sane and healthy. It's bittersweet to read this, to learn all the things he had going for him and how similar he was to so many nice and smart and creative people I know, and to me, and yet still he decided he couldn't go on.

The most important and compelling of the many deep things touched on during this extended interview is toward the end of the book, when Wallace kind of pierces through everything to summarize what the core of life's challenge is: "...fear is the basic condition, and there are all kinds of reasons for why we're afraid. But the fact of the matter is... the job we're here to do is to learn how to live in a way that we're not terrified all the time. And not in a position of using all kinds of different things, and using people to keep that kind of terror at bay... the face i'd put on the terror is the dawning realization that nothing's enough, you know? That no pleasure is enough, that no achievement is enough... there's a queer dissatisfaction or emptiness at the core of the self that is unassuagable by outside stuff... it's assuageable by internal means. I think those internal means have to be earned and developed, and it has something to do with um, um, the pop-psych phrase is lovin' yourself... I think it's part of the job we're here for is to learn how to do it."

And he couldn't figure out how to do it.