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March 19, 1997 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-19

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 19, 1997

Wallace to read 'Jest' at Borders

By Jessica Eaton
For the Daily
With the Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar,
Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken and Year of
the Depend Adult Undergarment, David Foster
Wallace's novel "Infinite Jest" humorously
delves into the lives and addictions of one of
the most endearingly
screwed-up families in
recent fiction. Wallace
will be reading from
"Infinite Jest" and "A
Supposedly Fun Thing I'll
Never Do Again," his
newest collection of
essays, at Borders on Thursday.
{Infinite Jest" is an imposing novel, known
as-much for its length of 1,079 pages as for its
content. It explores the value of entertainment
and how it dominates our everyday lives.
"I had tried to write pieces of fiction for sev-
eral years before, and they hadn't really worked,"
said Wallace, in an interview with The Michigan
Daily. "I decided that I wanted to try writing
something really sad; I thought of myself as kind
of a weird comedy writer up until then.
"The only thing I had in mind was that I
wanted to do something partly about sports and
partly about drugs and that was really kind of
sad. I knew that it was going to be long,
because 'Infinite Jest' has five or six main
characters, but I didn't know that it would be as

e
1

long as it was. It got to be kind of a problem.
The editor and I cut 400-500 pages before it
was published," Wallace said.
Wallace's fiction work, he claims, is not auto-
biographical. However, he does admit that there is
occasionally a personal influence. "Infinite Jest"
is partly set in a tennis academy, and he acknowl-
edged that he played a lot of
E V I E W tennis in his youth: "In fact,
my high school friend
avid Foster Marty Maehr is a tennis pro
Wallace in Ann Arbor." He research-
Thursday at 7:30 p.m. es his subject thoroughly,
Borders, Free and is "good at seeming to
know a lot."
"Most of the characters are from putting five
or six different people in a blender and then
throwing myself in, too," Wallace said. "A
weird thing happens with stuff that I think is
good enough to publish. The characters begin
talking to you. It's really weird when it hap-
pens, and not entirely pleasant. You feel kind of
crazy. But with the stuff that I like enough to
publish, that usually happens."
"A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do
Again," by contrast, is nonfiction, and it is
much more autobiographical than Wallace's
other works.
The title essay is a report of his experiences
with forced fun on a commercial cruiseliner, as
he describes with biting humor the joys and
agonies of bingo, cruise food and the 1.2:2

crew-to-passenger ratio.
These humorous and thought-provoking
pieces reflect Wallace's long experience in
writing.
A soft-spoken English professor, his speech
peppered with "Well, golly" and "Oh, Godfrey,"
Wallace began writing in college, writing papers
for other students to earn extra money. He also
wrote for a friend's humor magazine, and he
joined the same friend's reading group.
When this friend wrote a piece of fiction for
his senior thesis, Wallace, with the belief that
"anything he could do, I could do," did also.
He sent a copy of that thesis to an agent while
he was in grad school, and it quickly became
"The Broom of the System," his first novel.
Wallace had plenty of advice for young writers
trying to get published. "The best advice I could
give is not to worry about getting published for a
while and to concentrate on the beauty and the
fun of what you're doing. Once the publication
starts, it's very easy to forget why you wanted to
do this in the first place," Wallace said.
Next year, Wallace plans to leave teaching to
write full-time. "Teaching is a lot of fun, but it
takes up a lot of the same energy writing does.
So I'm probably going to try and get a lot more
writing done next year. " Wallace said.
Until then, readers will have to be content
with "Infinite Jest," "A Supposedly Fun Thing
I'll Never Do Again," and Wallace's reading at
Borders this evening.

I
David Foster Wallace will read from "Infinite Jest" at Borders on Thursday.

F; ~'

UAC Committee Chairs Wanted!
for the 1997-1998 school year
Universities Activities Center is the largest student-run organization on
campus. UAC's purpose is to enrich the student community. UAC has a
spot for everyone. If you enjoy the arts, the entertainment field, or are
interested in technical work, business, or advertising, UAC would love to
have you join the team! UAC is made up of a fantastic team of students.
We're so much more that just programming; we're about fun, too. Not
only do we work together, we play together! There is never a dull
moment at UAC!
Committees Include:

PORN
Read ALL About It
Discover the ups, downs, ins and outs
of PORNOGRAPHY in tomorrow's
We eked

Amazin' Blue
Comedy Company
Impact Dance Theatre
M-Flicks
The Rude Mechanicals
(formerly Soph Show)
MUSKET
Mini-Courses
Multicultural Programming Board
Michigan Academic Competition

Laughtrack
Soundstage
Special Events
Viewpoint Lectures
Eclipse Jazz
Homecoming
Michigras
Ticket Central

Applications are available at the UAC office,
2105 Michigan Union
Due Noon, Monday March 24

4
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CONGRATULATIONS
THE ONLY THING AS PLEASANT AS
BUYING A SATURN IS LEASING ONE.

SENIORS!

*"I

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