David foster wallace john updike essay

I have whale-watched in the rain, or whale- sought in the rain, while our boat hit waves as tall as houses and their spray left me storm-drenched and salt-soaked and blinking against the sting. I’ve watched a Chinese woman sit beside me at the prow, clenching the railing with one hand and a plastic baggie of her own vomit with the other, undeterred, scanning the horizon for unseen blowholes … I’ve eaten mangoes sweet as candy, licked the orange stain around my mouth after sucking their pits for the last flesh.

It's 1:30 . Joyce has broken Brakus's serve once and is up 3-1 in the first set and is receiving. Brakus is in the multi-brand clothes of somebody without an endorsement contract. He's well over six feet tall, and, as with many large male college stars, his game is built around his serve [16] . With the score at 0-15, his first serve is flat and 118 miles per hour and way out of Joyce's backhand, which is a two-hander and hard to lunge effectively with, but Joyce lunges plenty effectively and sends the ball back down the line to the Canadian's forehand, deep in the court and with such flat pace that Brakus has to stutter-step a little and backpedal to get set up–clearly, he's used to playing guys for whom 118 mumps out wide would be an outright ace or at least produce such a weak return that he could move up easily and put the ball away–and Brakus now sends the ball back up the line, high over the net, loopy with topspin–not all that bad a shot, considering the fierceness of the return, and a topspin shot that'd back most of the tennis players up and put them on the defensive, but Michael Joyce, whose level of tennis is such that he moves in on balls hit with topspin and hits them on the rise [17] moves in and takes the ball on the rise and hits a backhand cross so tightly angled that nobody alive could get to it. This is kind of a typical Joyce-Brakus point. The match is carnage of a particularly high-level sort: It's like watching an extremely large and powerful predator get torn to pieces by an even larger and more powerful predator. Brakus looks pissed off after Joyce's winner and makes some berating-himself-type noises, but the anger seems kind of pro forma–it's not like there's anything Brakus could have done much better, not given what he and the seventy-ninth-best player in the world have in their respective arsenals.

What do you think his legacy is?
There's no way of knowing what his legacy is but I know he changed prose. And prose gets changed not that often in a century. Hemingway changed prose, so did Salinger and Nabokov. David changed it too. He did an amazing thing. One the things that writing and speech can do is express what we're thinking one thought at a time. But we think a thousand things at a time, and David found a way to get all that across in a way that's incredibly true and incredibly entertaining at the same time. He found that junction. I would have liked to have read many more things by him, because he was the one voice I absolutely trusted to make sense of the outside world for me. Anyone that picks up his work for the next 50 years will have their antenna polished and sharpened, and they'll be receiving many more channels than they were aware of. And that's great. I think that will probably be his legacy, but what I think we'll miss is that he won't be sending out those signals himself. In a sense, he taught you to look at the world the way he did, and then stopped seeing the world that way at all. Evan Wright asked if everybody knew how great a teacher he'd been — he'd helped Wright how to think of himself as a writer — and of course when you invent a prose style, you invent a world and a way of seeing, and it's one big master class, one giant lesson in seeing the world better and clearer, and I think beyond the books and stories and piecs that career-long lesson is a big part of his legacy. He ended a piece for our magazine with the words "Try to stay awake." That open-eyeness is the giant thing he leaves behind.

David foster wallace john updike essay

david foster wallace john updike essay


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