DFW ftw

Zadie Smith quoting David Foster Wallace at the latter’s memorial service at NYU:

“[…]there’s something kind of timelessly vital and sacred about good writing. This thing doesn’t have that much to do with talent, even glittering talent…Talent’s just an instrument. It’s like having a pen that works instead of one that doesn’t. I’m not saying I’m able to work consistently out of that premise, but it seems like the big distinction between good art and so-so art lies somewhere in the art’s heart’s purpose, the agenda of the consciousness behind the text. It’s got something to do with love. With having the discipline to talk out of that part or yourself that can love instead of the part that just wants to be loved.”

To paraphrase Duncan Murrell of Durham, NC, in the last issue of Harper’s, “I have no idea what Wallace’s religious beliefs were (if any),” but if that’s not a Christian poetic, then I don’t know what is. Though he can be confounding in his style and density, Wallace’s stories (the ones I’ve read, at least) are so honest and so loving that they penetrate even themselves at times.

I want to write like this man.


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