50% of the Stuff I Do is Bad

"For me, 50% of the stuff I do is bad, and that’s just going to be the way it is, and if I can’t accept that then I’m not cut out for this. The trick is to know what’s bad and not let other people see it."

— David Foster Wallace in an interview with Hugh Kennedy and Geoffrey Polk of Whiskey Island Magazine published in 1993. (via this tumblr which has many quotes from DFW and other literary figures.)

Here's my old post Try More Stuff Than the Other Guy (the law of large numbers of entrepreneurship). Here's my post on increasing your number of at-bats.

Here are my posts on David Foster Wallace.

5 Responses to 50% of the Stuff I Do is Bad

  1. Carl Wescott says:

    An arguably contrary opinion, or certainly an orthogonal one:

    Woody Allen: “90% of life is just showing up”

  2. “David Foster Wallace was supposed to become the sleek old seal of postmodern literature.” ~ Kidchamp

    DFW read too much and lived too little. He needed to escape the confines of his own skull because solipsism is a prescription for unhappiness.

    The words DFW desperately needed to hear:

    Get that wad of Kodiak out of your mouth and put away that disgusting bucket of tobacco spit.

    Show some human decency. Don’t smoke while I’m breathing the same air.

    You’re right. Half of what you write is garbage, especially those incredibly boring descriptive passages where you itemize every fucking object in a room.

    You’re not Flaubert.

    Give me that messy pile of verbosity you call Infinite Jest (because it really is a gigantic joke) and let me do to it what Ezra Pound did to Eliot’s The Wasteland.

    I mean let me perform major surgery and excise the crappy half.

    You know as well as I do that none of those critics who go on about what a genius you are have read it.

    Let me edit and rearrange it into something that people will actually read.

    Now help me smoke this big spliff and let’s book the next flight to the steamy rainforest of the Amazon where we’ll drink some ayahuasca and talk to God.

    Now get off your lazy ass, fucker.

  3. Krishna says:

    Vince, for having made DFW quiver in his grave, the ghost of DFW will sure visit you complete with outstretched claws and sharp venomous fangs.

    And I imagined your conversation with it. Suddenly vituperative eloquence of Martin Scorcese seemed like a sermon from the mount :-)))))

  4. Thank you, Krishna.

    It may be true that Death has sharp teeth, but I’ve felt that I was among the living dead since I was a kid myself.

    I believe Wallace is more alive now than he ever was.;-)

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