Remembering David Foster Wallace

On the anniversary of his death, George Gurley looks back at the writer's influence on his life.

David Foster Wallace

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When David Foster Wallace committed suicide in 2008, six years ago today, there was an outpouring of loving tributes from writers and editors, many of whom had met Mr. Wallace and perhaps read a little too deeply into their not-so-special interactions with him.

In response, George Gurley unfurled an irreverent, discursive and quite colorful examination of the literary community’s mushy memorial.

“So everyone’s claiming to have been real tight with David Foster Wallace because they played tennis with him, had a class with him, got a book signed by him, did the naughty with him,” Mr. Gurley wrote a few weeks after Mr. Wallace’s death. “Seems thousands of people were ‘pretty tight’ with him and they want to make sure you know it.”

Mr. Gurley had his own encounter with Mr. Wallace, which he describes a few paragraphs later, but in keeping with the unsentimental nature of his article, he didn’t make much of it.

“Never met DFW but talked to him on the phone for 20 minutes,” Mr. Gurley wrote. “I tried to tease him about being a genius and literary celebrity. He said he wasn’t sure he liked how the conversation was going. Why was I such an asshole back then?”

Read the whole piece here.

Remembering David Foster Wallace