Monday, April 26, 2010

On Instances of Authorial Lurking

The subject line may not accurately describe what it is I wish to talk about, but I'm led to believe what I'm about to discuss is something entirely universal in nature. I like to think that we all find ourselves in situations where one author in particular is lodged firmly in our craw, and for whatever reason circles and swirls in your general area. It is entirely possible that my slightly obsessive nature intensifies this occurrence, but allow me to give you a rundown of my week with David Foster Wallace.

Thursday: Rearranging fixtures for our event with Karl Marlantes, who was immensely kind, not to mention modest (which is particularly refreshing given the unanimous praise his debut novel Matterhorn has received), this was the cover located directly in front of (and underneath) me:

Friday: While shelving in our Mathematics section, I noticed a book that was slightly out of alphabetical order. It was Everything And More: A Compact History of Infinity by one David Foster Wallace.

Saturday: Nothing.

Sunday: As if to make up for the day off, Mr. Wallace struck twice during our short day here at the bookstore.

First, a discussion about the ins and outs of book collecting brought about a digression (the only one of its kind) to the current value of a first edition, first printing of Infinite Jest.

Then, just before closing, I helped a customer locate a book for her book club. She wasn't sure who the author was, but she knew "Curious Hair" was in the title. As in Girl With The. Upon arriving in the section, there was a brief discussion about DFW and the importance of experimental fiction. As a degree carrying English major, I walked away elated by this exchanging of ideas.

Monday: Mere moments ago, I was hailed by one of our lovely events associates. When I reached the top of the stairs where she was prepping a display for this evening's author event with Kim Severson, she held a copy of the book that started all of this: Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace by David Lipsky.

While I was sold on the idea of someone (anyone, really) taking some kind of road trip with a figure the likes of David Foster Wallace, I am pleased to report that the specifics should yield far tastier fruit for all of us to enjoy (the specifics being that this road trip took place during DFW's book tour for Infinite Jest)!

As it turns out, we received an uncorrected proof of the book today, and it had yet to be claimed. Since I seem to be incapable of keeping my likes and dislikes to myself, it was known to the aforementioned staffer that I'm something of a fan. So, due to the fact that I have thoughtful, sweet co-workers, I sit here with a new book in my hot little hands.

With all of this out in the blogosphere now, I'm curious. When was the last time you, my patient, possibly bored reader, have had an author embedded in your life in oddly tangible ways? Furthermore, who was it?



  1. you DO have awesome co-workers :)
    aleksander hemon keeps popping up in my life and i rather like his company. he shows his face as an editor of a collection of essays handed to me by my cousin. or an epitaph in my favorite novel. and he somehow weaves his writing into the identity i carry for my family history. it's great.

  2. Anonymous7:31 PM

    can't think of an example of this precise phenomenon, but your mention of dfw reminds me of the where-were-you-when-you-found-out question. dfw died the night of the stranger genius awards, which i was lucky enough to attend, and i remember paul constant walking through the crowd, holding his phone out (i think he got a text) telling anyone who would listen "david foster wallace just killed himself!" we were all in shock. i was psyched to be there to see sherman alexie win the genius award, but it was hard to not think about the other literary event of the evening. now i always associate dfw's death with the stranger genius awards and vice versa.


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