Saturday, July 17, 2010

Who is David Foster Wallace?


According to the Los Angeles Times book editor, DFW is "one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last 20 years."

So why I do care about that? Until this evening, I had never heard of such a man. Either I am totally clueless to influence and innovation, which is the most plausible answer, or the LAT book editor was using some hyperbole. Let me ask this. Have you ever heard of him?

I'm kinda curious to read his writing. His wikipedia page speaks pretty highly of him.

Again, so why do I care all of a sudden about David Foster Wallace? Well, according to I Write Like, my writing mimics Mr. DFW.

I read about this writing analyzing machine on the HuffPo and decided to try it out. I used some of my old writing from my original blog when I thought I might aspire to become a serious up-and-coming writer and took myself seriously, maybe too seriously, yes, too seriously. Then I put in multiple articles from my column in the Pacific Citizen, and to my dismay, most, if not all, of my writings popped up with I Write Like David Foster Wallace. When I put lighter, simpler stuff, a la this blog, I got a couple more DFW, a few Stephen Kings, and even a Dan Brown... (embarrassing, I know). But when I read that Obama's inauguration speech got him a DFW write-alike, no more was I so disappointed that I write like some obscure "genius"... (I was really hoping to get assigned with a Leo Tolstoy, my literary hero.)

So I guess my dreams of being the next great American writer will have to wait until another day. But in the mean time, go to I Write Like, and check out whose words yours resemble... Let me know, I'm curious.

Or if you'd rather, just enjoy some pictures of my son being whatever he wants to be... Which is usually straight-faced when the camera comes out...


13 comments:

mom/shauna said...

Get us some examples of how you're riding is the same. Love, dad

petey said...

dad.

here's an adaptation from a commencement speech he gave a year or two before he eventually committed suicide.

this is the first time i've read his stuff.

seems pretty interesting...

click here: this is water.

Melissa said...

Em...so I totally had a dream today with you and Peter in it and I called you and got a voicemail for Aunt Margie's phone...with your voice!! Did you change your number? We have some serious catching up to do.

ron said...

Peter, your views are so much more positive. I wonder if he ever learn to think in a disciplined manner? Some thoughts I agree with, but he expressed them so negatively. Love, Dad

paul said...

i put a paragraph in from my blogpost and i too write like david foster wallace...i wonder how many authors their site considers..?:)

paul said...

my second paragraph from a different blogpost gave 'stephen king'...

paul said...

you and i must be fore alike than i thought peter...

Stephen said...

careful. david foster wallace committed suicide not too long ago.

embily said...

paul, i think there are only 50 writers in their database. i got a stephen king and some russian author i've never heard of.

petey said...

stevey. that's why the article I linked is so eerie.
Paul. agreed. I think they need more authors. I did however buy a DFW book yesterday to see how I like his writing...

The Olsens said...

Cory Doctorow. Who the heck?

The Olsens said...

Tried again and got David Foster Wallace. Cute pics. Oh and London started to crawl. Will rubbed off on her.

Les said...

Peter,

This is Les, Christy's husband. She pointed me to your post because she knows I'm a bit of a literary nerd and a nut for DFW. When I first discovered him I was obsessed and read all of his catalogue of Fiction (except his magnum opus Infinite Jest - which is so massive and intimidating that I've been saving it for a time that I feel I could conquer it). I've read a bunch of his essays as well, which are really good too.

The first of his works that I read, and which is still my favorite is Girl With Curious Hair. It is a book of short stories (but you may want to avoid the short story of the same name because it is pretty rancid and seems like not much more than a play on language a la A Clockwork Orange) There are several stories in there that are just so unbelievably good. He was terribly smart (perhaps too smart for his own good) and his stuff for me is hit-and-miss, but when he hits he hits big and beautiful.