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From This Is Water To Infinite Jest – The Best David Foster Wallace Quotes

Here’s a selection of David Foster Wallace Quotes, covering topics such as love, inspiration and suicide.

We really hope you enjoy these quotes and that they give you something to think about.

One paradox of professional writing is that books written solely for money and/or acclaim will almost never be good enough to garner either.

Fiction becomes a weird way to countenance yourself and to tell the truth instead of being a way to escape yourself or present yourself in a way you figure you will be maximally likable.

How odd I can have all this inside me and to you it’s just words.

In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.

The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.

The parts of me that used to think I was different or smarter or whatever, almost made me die.

The severing of an established connection is exponentially more painful than the rejection of an attempted connection.

Quentin Tarantino is interested in watching somebody’s ear getting cut off; David Lynch is interested in the ear.

It can become an exercise in trying to get the reader to like and admire you instead of an exercise in creative art.

Supongo que ser tímido significa básicamente estar absorbido por uno mismo hasta el punto de que se hace difícil estar rodeado de otras personas.

This might be one way to start talking about differences between the early postmodern writers of the fifties and sixties and their contemporary descendants.

Acceptance is usually more a matter of fatigue than anything else.

The reader becomes God, for all textual purposes. I see your eyes glazing over, so I’ll hush.

Some words have to be explicitly uttered, Lenore. Only by actually uttering certain words does one really DO what one SAYS. ‘Love’ is one of those words, performative words. Some words can literally make things real.

In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.

We’re kind of wishing some parents would come back. And of course we’re uneasy about the fact that we wish they’d come back – I mean, what’s wrong with us?

…Genuine pathological openness is about as seductive as Tourette’s Syndrome.

Nuclear weapons and TV have simply intensified the consequences of our tendencies, upped the stakes.

Pleasure becomes a value, a teleological end in itself. It’s probably more Western than U.S. per se.

Good writing isn’t a science. It’s an art, and the horizon is infinite. You can always get better.

It seems important to find ways of reminding ourselves that most ‘familiarity’ is meditated and delusive.

I just think that fiction that isn’t exploring what it means to be human today isn’t art.

This is so American, man: either make something your God and cosmos and then worship it, or else kill it.

This diagnosis can be done in about two lines. It doesn’t engage anybody.

I think TV promulgates the idea that good art is just art which makes people like and depend on the vehicle that brings them the art.

And lo, for the earth was empty of form, and void. And darkness was all over the face of the deep. And we said: ‘look at that f*cker dance.

Rap’s conscious response to the poverty and oppression of U.S. blacks is like some hideous parody of sixties black pride.

No one can call themselves a writer until he or she has written at least fifty stories.

What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant.

You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.

TV’s ‘real’ agenda is to be ‘liked,’ because if you like what you’re seeing, you’ll stay tuned. TV is completely unabashed about this; it’s its sole raison.

I think, today’s irony ends up saying: “how totally banal of you to ask what I really mean.

David [foster wallace] is a cosmopolitan subscriber; he says reading ‘i’ve cheated – should I tell?’ a bunch of times a year is ‘fundamentally soothing to the nervous system.

Lucky people develop a relationship with a certain kind of art that becomes spiritual, almost religious, and doesn’t mean, you know, church stuff, but it means you’re just never the same.

It’s got something to do with love. With having the discipline to talk out of the part of yourself that can love instead of the part that just wants to be loved.

The thing about people who are truly and malignantly crazy: their real genius is for making the people around them think they themselves are crazy. In military science this is called psy-ops, for your info.

A novelist has to know enough about a subject to fool the passenger next to him on an airplane.

We will, of course, without hesitation use art to parody, ridicule, debunk, or criticize ideologies.

I’d like to be the sort of person who can enjoy things at the time, instead of having to go back in my head and enjoy them.

What TV is extremely good at – and realize that this is ‘all it does’ – is discerning what large numbers of people think they want, and supplying it.

I’ll say god seems to have a kind of laid-back management style i’m not crazy about. I’m pretty much anti-death. God looks by all accounts to be pro-death. I’m not seeing how we can get together on this issue, he and i…

One of the things that makes Wittgenstein a real artist to me is that he realized that no conclusion could be more horrible than solipsism.

Why not? why not? why not not, then, if the best reasoning you can contrive is why not?.

This is nourishing, redemptive; we become less alone inside.

It takes great personal courage to let yourself appear weak.

God, what a ghastly enterprise to be in, though-and what an odd way to achieve success. I’m an exhibitionist who wants to hide, but is unsuccessful at hiding; therefore, somehow I succeed.

We’re not keen on the idea of the story sharing its valence with the reader. But the reader’s own life ‘outside’ the story changes the story.

To be willing to sort of die in order to move the reader, somehow. Even now I’m scared about how sappy this’ll look in print, saying this.

That everything is on fire, slow fire, and we’re all less than a million breaths away from an oblivion more total than we can even bring ourselves to even try to imagine.

Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.

The great thing about irony is that it splits things apart, gets up above them so we can see the flaws and hypocrisies and duplicates.

…most substance-addicted people are also addicted to thinking, meaning they have a compulsive and unhealthy relationship with their own thinking.

Writing fiction takes me out of time. I sit down and the clock will not exist for me for a few hours. That’s probably as close to immortal as we’ll ever get.

I had kind of a midlife crisis at twenty which probably doesn’t augur well for my longevity.

Mary had a little lamb, its fleece electrostatic / and everywhere mary went, the lights became erratic.

The fun of reading as “an exchange between consciousnesses, a way for human beings to talk to each other about stuff we can’t normally talk about.

The other half is to dramatize the fact that we still ‘are’ human beings, now. Or can be.

I often think I can see it in myself and in other young writers, this desperate desire to please coupled with a kind of hostility to the reader.

For these cultures, getting rid of the pain without addressing the deeper cause would be like shutting off a fire alarm while the fire’s still going.

If your fidelity to perfectionism is too high, you never do anything.

There are no choices without personal freedom, buckeroo. It’s not us who are dead inside. These things you find so weak and contemptible in us—these are just the hazards of being free.

Fiction’s about what it is to be a f*cking human being.

Perhaps this is what it means to go mad: to be emptied and to be aware of the emptiness.

… That no single, individual moment is in and of itself unendurable.

Like so many other nerdy, disaffected young people of that time, I dreamed of becoming an ‘artist’, i.e., somebody whose adult job was original and creative instead of tedious and dronelike.

Almost anything that you pay close, direct attention to becomes interesting.

It’s all very confusing. I think i’m very honest and candid, but i’m also proud of how honest and candid I am — so where does that put me?.

We’re all lonely for something we don’t know we’re lonely for. How else to explain the curious feeling that goes around feeling like missing somebody we’ve never even met?.

True heroism is minutes, hours, weeks, year upon year of the quiet, precise, judicious exercise of probity and care—with no one there to see or cheer. This is the world.

The interesting thing is why we’re so desperate for this anesthetic against loneliness.

The problem is that once the rules of art are debunked, and once the unpleasant realities the irony diagnoses are revealed and diagnosed, ‘then’ what do we do?

David foster wallace: because i’d like to be the sort of person who can enjoy things at the time instead of having to go back in my head and enjoy them then.

I do things like get in a taxi and say, “the library, and step on it.

It did what all ads are supposed to do: create an anxiety relievable by purchase.

There is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness.

Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else.

I will probably write an hour a day and spend eight hours a day biting my knuckle and worrying about not writing.

Whatever you get paid attention for is never what you think is most important about yourself.

Te occidere possunt sed te edere non possunt nefas est” (“they can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are quite a bit dicier”).

Lonely people tend, rather, to be lonely because they decline to bear the psychic costs of being around other humans. They are allergic to people. People affect them too strongly.

The job of the first eight pages is not to have the reader want to throw the book at the wall, during the first eight pages.

It looks like you can write a minimalist piece without much bleeding. And you can. But not a good one.

It’s weird to feel like you miss someone you’re not even sure you know.

Sarcasm and jokes were often the bottle in which clinical depressives sent out their most plangent screams for someone to care and help them.

There’s good self-consciousness, and then there’s toxic, paralyzing, raped-by-psychic-bedouins self-consciousness.

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