Cover image for Although of course you end up becoming yourself : a road trip with David Foster Wallace
Title:
Although of course you end up becoming yourself : a road trip with David Foster Wallace
ISBN:
9780307592439
Edition:
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Broadway Books, c2010.
Physical Description:
xxxii, 320 p. ; 24 cm.
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Summary

Summary

"In David Lipsky's view, David Foster Wallace was the best young writer in America. Wallace's pieces for Harper's magazine in the '90s were, according to Lipsky, like hearing for the first time the brain voice of everybody I knew- Here was how we all talked, experienced, thought. It was like smelling the damp in the air, seeing the first flash from a storm a mile away. You knew something gigantic was coming. Then Rolling Stone sent Lipsky to join Wallace on the last leg of his book tour for Infinite Jest, the novel that made him internationally famous. They lose to each other at chess. They get iced-in at an airport. They dash to Chicago to catch a make-up flight. They endure a terrible reader's escort in Minneapolis. Wallace does a reading, a signing, an NPR appearance. Wallace gives in and imbibes titanic amounts of hotel television (what he calls an orgy of spectation ). They fly back to Illinois, drive home, walk Wallace's dogs. Amid these everyday events, Wallace tells Lipsky remarkable things everything he can about his life, how he feels, what he thinks, what terrifies and fascinates and confounds him in the writing voice Lipsky had come to love. Lipsky took notes, stopp


Author Notes

David Lipsky was born in New York City on July 20, 1965. He received a B.A. from Brown University in 1987 and an M.A. in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University. He is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone Magazine. His work has also appeared in numerous publications including The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Magazine Writing, The New York Times, and The New York Times Book Review. He contributes as an essayist to NPR's All Things Considered and teaches creative writing at the M.F.A. program at New York University. His books include The Art Fair, Three Thousand Dollars, and Absolutely American.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

In early 1996, journalist and author Lipsky (Absolutely American) joined then-34-year-old David Foster Wallace on the last leg of his tour for Infinite Jest (Wallace's breakout novel) for a Rolling Stone interview that would never be published. Here, he presents the transcript of that interview, a rollicking dialogue that Lipsky sets up with a few brief but revealing essays, one of which touches upon Wallace's 2008 suicide and the reaction of those close to him (including his sister and his good friend Jonathan Franzen). Over the course of their five day road trip, Wallace discusses everything from teaching to his stay in a mental hospital to television to modern poetry to love and, of course, writing. Ironically, given Wallace's repeated concern that Lipsky would end up with an incomplete or misleading portrait, the format produces the kind of tangible, immediate, honest sense of its subject that a formal biography might labor for. Even as they capture a very earthbound encounter, full of common road-trip detours, Wallace's voice and insight have an eerie impact not entirely related to his tragic death; as Lipsky notes, Wallace "was such a natural writer he could talk in prose." Among the repetitions, ellipses, and fumbling that make Wallace's patter so compellingly real are observations as elegant and insightful as his essays. Prescient, funny, earnest, and honest, this lost conversation is far from an opportunistic piece of literary ephemera, but a candid and fascinating glimpse into a uniquely brilliant and very troubled writer. (Apr.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.


Booklist Review

On assignment for Rolling Stone, Lipsky hung out with David Foster Wallace and his two dogs in Wallace's Illinois home, then accompanied the newly minted celebrity writer on a Midwest stretch of his 1996 book tour for his meganovel Infinite Jest. Lipsky's article was canceled, and now, in the wake of Wallace's 2008 suicide, Lipsky's recordings of five days' worth of the writer's brainy and passionate riffing on the nature of mind, the purpose of literature, and the pitfalls of both academia and entertainment are incredibly poignant. Lipsky (Absolutely American, 2003) vividly and incisively sets the before-and-after scenes for this revelatory oral history, in which Wallace is at once candid and cautious, funny and flinty, spellbinding and erudite as he articulates remarkably complex insights into depression, fiction that captures the cognitive texture of our time, and fame's double edge. Wild about movies, prescient about the impact of the Internet, and happiest writing, Wallace is radiantly present in this intimate portrait, a generous and refined work that will sustain Wallace's masterful and innovative books long into the future.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

David Lipsky excavates his abundant notes from five days on the road with David Foster Wallace. A FEW weeks after "Infinite Jest" was published in February 1996, Rolling Stone magazine sent a reporter to accompany its author, David Foster Wallace, on the final leg of his triumphant book tour. For a dense, challenging, wildly satiric, at times profoundly sad and gruesome 1,079-page novel, which concluded with nearly a hundred pages of "notes and errata," "Infinite Jest" had garnered enormous attention. Esquire called it a work of genius. Time and Newsweek ran photos of the author. Wallace was gradually absorbing the extent of his literary success. The fellow from Rolling Stone, David Lipsky, asked him: "Do you know how many times Rolling Stone has done a young writer, a profile, in the last 10 years?" "Uh-uh." "Zero." "Really." Lipsky confirmed: "I checked, zero." But after Lipsky spent five days with Wallace, staying as a guest in his house, driving and flying with him across the Midwest and interrogating him on increasingly personal subjects, the count remained at zero. Rolling Stone killed the assignment, apparently concluding that its readers would not be interested in the author of a dense, challenging, wildly satiric, at times profoundly sad and gruesome 1,079-page novel after all. Wallace took his own life in 2008, at the age of 46, devastating his loved ones and confounding a generation of readers and writers. The reputation of "Infinite Jest" still grows. Set in a near-future America fixated by its tools for chemical and electronic self-gratification, the novel seems more prescient with the rollout of every new compulsively entertaining digital device. The rising interest in Wallace's life and work has persuaded Lipsky to excavate his notes for the article that never ran. "Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself" is a transcription of the reporter's recorded interviews with Wallace, including a notation of every break during which he changes the tape. (He eventually runs out of cassettes, and they have to appropriate an aerobics mix tape belonging to Wallace's ex-girlfriend.) The book has not been formatted for the reader's convenience, any more than "Infinite Jest" was with its cursed endnotes. Wallace's remarks appear in roman type, alternating with Lipsky's in italics. Brief, often cryptic notes by the reporter are enclosed in brackets. For the purposes of this review, I've put the dialogue into conventional quotation typography. Some of Lipsky's material is trivial and incoherent, yet the two writers speak profitably enough to give us a vivid snapshot of Wallace at the golden moment when he realizes that his words have struck a public nerve. I met Wallace just once, but the genuine, funny and compassionate figure who emerges here comports with the guy I encountered. Lipsky is kind of interesting too. Lipsky attends Wallace's class at the Illinois State University campus in the town of Normal, and after a storm closes the local airport, they dash up to Chicago to catch a flight to Minneapolis-St. Paul, for the final stop on his tour, at the Hungry Mind bookstore. Along the way they speak of "Infinite Jest" and how the 1,700-page manuscript was edited, as well as of Wallace's friends and family, other writers, television and movies. The discussion occasionally becomes involved and passionate enough that the two writers finish each other's thoughts. This isn't always so great for the reader. Sometimes it feels as if we're literally in the back seat of the car, auditing a fascinating conversation but unable to distinguish - over the noise of the traffic, the defogger, the wipers and R.E.M. on the radio - exactly what's being said. Talking about his novel, Wallace accepts the criticism that it's difficult, but he considers difficulty valuable, an integral component of contemporary fiction. "If the writer does his job right, what he basically does is remind the reader of how smart the reader is," he says. Wallace contrasts literature with the electronic media, especially television, an amusement that is his own personal weakness, an actual addiction. "One of the insidious lessons about TV is the meta-lesson that you're dumb. This is all you can do. This is easy, and you're the sort of person who really just wants to sit in a chair and have it easy." He takes this idea to the outer limits in "Infinite Jest," a novel in which terrorists seek to acquire a peculiar weapon of mass destruction: an underground film with the capacity to mesmerize and kill its viewers. Wallace's two-sided attitude toward mass culture makes him determined, as Lipsky puts it, "not to enjoy the process of being celebritified." He's concerned about the effects of fame on his work. "To have written a book about how seductive image is, and how very many ways there are to get seduced off any kind of meaningful path, because of the way the culture is now. But what if, you know, what if I become this grotesque parody of just what the book is about? And of course, this stuff drives me nuts." Lipsky's aware that he's an avatar of the star-making pop culture about which Wallace is so ambivalent. He's ambivalent too, sincere in his regard for Wallace, yet also a compliant chip in the mass media's vacuous, reductionist, gossip-mongering, nonliterary, anti-literary machine. A novelist himself, he loves literature yet appears to believe that a writer's dominant response to a great book can be only envy. Self-conscious about his contradictions, suspicious of his subject while wanting his approval, Lipsky is a character nearly worthy of Wallace's fiction. While the author is in the shower, Lipsky surreptitiously phones Rolling Stone from the guest room. His notes, unfortunately, are too sketchy to provide real drama, but the conversation centers on how to chase down rumors that Wallace once had an alcohol or drug problem. Lipsky and his colleagues discuss how to pump Wallace's former editor, Gerry Howard, who "would be more than forthcoming with a little bit of massaging to give you whatever you needed. Bury it in other questions. . . . For example, 'How was editing him; what do you think of his success; hey, what about the dope?'" Lipsky returns to drugs time and again, perhaps unavoidably since so much of "Infinite Jest" is about addiction. Wallace denies ever having been a heroin addict, but he does cop to a frightening amount of occasional drug use: acid, cocaine and black tar heroin, plus heavy drinking and marijuana consumption. He emphatically disconnects his drug use from any sort of glamour or creative imperative. "I wasn't an interesting or Falstaffian or larger-than-life type of addictive figure," he says. Some of the most accomplished, emotional and hair-raising passages in "Infinite Jest," and in American fiction of the past 20 years, are set in a Boston-area halfway house for recovering addicts. Wallace insists that his close familiarity with halfway houses, as well as with 12-step programs, is the product of journalistic research. In the course of writing "Infinite Jest," he dropped in on several local facilities, finding himself warmly welcomed by their residents: "Nobody is as gregarious as somebody who has recently stopped using drugs." He tells Lipsky, "I did what you're doing now," and then, annoyed with the line of questioning, adds, "except over a much longer period of time and much more subtly." In a New Yorker article about Wallace after his death, D.T. Max asserted that Wallace did suffer an addiction and did spend time in a halfway house, though Max doesn't specify Wallace's dependency. What is certain is that, living in the closing years of the American century, struggling with his own impulses and appetites, Wallace developed a vision of a society whose pursuit of pleasure was shutting itself off from true feeling and experience. In "Infinite Jest," he tells Lipsky, "drugs are kind of a metaphor for the sort of addictive continuum that I think has to do with how we as a culture relate to things that are alive." A striking feature of Lipsky's book is the delicate dance between the earnest celebrity reporter and the savvy celebrity-shy subject, each aware that their encounter serves an exterior purpose, yet each also sensitive to the possibility of a real human connection, even friendship. "It's kind of intense," Wallace observes. But on the last leg of the journey, after the two seem to have become close, Lipsky ventures that there's something false in Wallace's persona. The reporter suggests that Wallace believes he's really smarter than other people, and that his amiability is a species of condescension. Disappointed, Wallace shoots back: "You're a tough room." Lipsky is hurt in turn after they reach the house, when Wallace tells someone calling on the phone that he's still with "this guy." Lipsky wishes that he would have referred to him at least as the "Rolling Stone reporter." Then, four pages later, Wallace says, shyly, "It'll be very interesting before you leave, I really would like, if we could trade address data." Yet the writers never meet again, nor even correspond to commiserate about the killed article. THE life of David Foster Wallace and the writing that came out of it deserve vigorous scholarship, to which Lipsky's book makes a useful contribution. Readers will soon have further opportunities to get inside Wallace's creative mind. Max is preparing a comprehensive biography of the writer. Wallace's unfinished last novel, "The Pale King," is to be published in April of next year. Meanwhile, those who were put off by the heft, complexities and gruesomeness of "Infinite Jest," not to mention the endnotes, should at least give it another shot. 'What if I become this grotesque parody of just what the book is about? Of course, this stuff drives me nuts.' Ken Kalfus's most recent novel is "A Disorder Peculiar to the Country."


Kirkus Review

My Dinner with Andre in a rental carRolling Stone contributing editor Lipsky (Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point, 2003, etc.) turns in a splintered portrait of the late, great novelist. In 1996, the author got the call to drive into the Illinois countryside to find David Foster Wallace (19622008) and wrestle a profile of the then-budding cult hero of literature. "I'm thirty years old, he's thirty-four," writes Lipsky. "We both have long hair." They are (were) also both voracious consumers of culture, from the novels of John Updike (Wallace hates him, Lipsky doesn't) and Stephen King (vice versa) to Saturday-morning cartoons, Steven Spielberg's films and the latest sonic complaints of Alanis Morissette (Wallace loves her, Lipsky not so much) and the bleatings of Sheryl Crow (says Wallace, "made me want to vomit, from the very beginning"). The two set off on a whirlwind, almost-missed-the-plane tour of the ice-encrusted Upper Midwest, a matter of foggy windows, slick roads and Wallace's constant spitting of tobacco juice into various fetid containers. Eventually they wound up at a reading in Minnesota that, if nothing else, illustrates how soul-wearying such things are to writers, especially with the inevitable first question from the audience: "Where do you get your ideas from?" In Wallace's case, the answer is refracted across pages devoted to his wrestlings with depression and mental illness, punctuated by reminiscences of visits to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments. At other times he appears happier, if sometimes mystified by the business of fame and the strange workings of the publishing businessbut very much on top of the dollars and cents and at the top of his game as a writer. Lipsky does good work in keeping up with Wallace, but in the end his book is a staccato ramble made tiresome by his mania for pointing out, endlessly, Wallace's Midwestern pronunciations and with one too many digressions on Lipsky's own life. Still, a nicely gossipy inside view of a writer's world and a beautiful yet anguished mind. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

When David Foster Wallace went on tour to promote his staggering hit/work of genius Infinite Jest, reporter Lipsky followed. The resulting several day-long interview was supposed to be for a Rolling Stone article that never materialized. Fortunately, a year and a half after Wallace took his own life, Lipsky has published a transcript of the interview in its entirety. The resulting book gives us a glimpse into the mind of one of the great literary masters of the end of the 20th century; a man who had achieved international fame and felt deeply ambivalent about it. But what shines through even more is his deep passion for writing and ideas and his kind, gentle nature. Verdict Anyone looking to read the musings of a larger-than-life literary figure will be disappointed; instead we get a portrait of a slightly troubled Midwestern man who happened to have a tremendous gift. Many fans of Wallace's writing come to think of him as a friend-by the time they have finished Lipsky's moving book, they will undoubtedly feel that even more strongly. Highly recommended.-Ned Resnikoff, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

first day david's house tuesday before class in the living room, playing chess his dogs slinking back and forth over carpet 3/5/96   You were saying about the tour that while we travel, "I need to know that anything that I ask you fi ve minutes later to not put in, you won't put in."   Given my level of fatigue and fuck- up quotient lately, it's the only way I can see doin' it and not going crazy.   [Drone--he's got two dogs--is chewing on the chair David sits in. He now has an unlisted phone number, because of fans.]   I don't know if "fan" would be the right word . . .   [Looking at bookcases . . . He had a board out, and is eager to play. So we are playing chess.]   I think when I was twenty- five this was what I wanted. But . . . I don't mind it now. I mean, I'm proud of the book, I'm glad the book is getting attention. Stuff about me is (a) makes me uncomfortable and (b) is bad for me, because it makes me self- conscious when I write. And I do not need to be more self- conscious. Oh, fuck me! It takes a while for me to get in a groove. I honestly don't know what's gonna sort of eventuate here. Well, fuck! (Looking at the board) Little, Brown bought both the hardcover and the softcover rights at the same time. I think I could make a lot if I took an advance for the next thing, but I can't do that, so . . .   [He's not interested in money for next novels, which friends have said is the wisest course. I talk about my own friends--people he knows too--who arranged deals while touring for successful books.]   That's incredible. I've got this thing where I just can't take money for something till it's done. So I'm sort of screwed about that stuff. (Slow, Southernish voice) I've been burnt on this before, I just can't do it. I had no choice on this book, it was sort of under way. There was so much research I had to do, that I literally could not teach and do it at the same time. So I decided to eat it, and do it. But it would have been a lot more fun if I hadn't taken any money for it.   [He's playing pop radio, the local college station. I haven't heard this song in so much time: INXS, "It's the One Thing." David nods, says he loves their song "Don't Change."]   You know, I went through such a bad time in my twenties. Thinking like, Oh no, I'm this genius writer, everything I do's gotta be ingenious, blah blah blah blah, and bein' so shut down and miserable for three or four years. That it's worth any amount of money to me, not to go there again. And I'm aware that that sounds maybe Pollyannaish or sound- bitish. But it's actually just the truth. I was twenty- eight years old, and that means not taking an ad- vance for stuff before it's done. And it's money well spent as far as I'm concerned.   Aware of your fame here?   The grad students are vaguely aware I think.   They must follow it?   I think kids in the Midwest are different than kids on the East Coast. I think Time and Newsweek are fairly inescapable. So I think they kinda know. I'm sort of so nasty when they start talking about that stuff in class that I think I've scared them into just leaving it alone.   Why?   Because it's toxic to them and it's toxic to me. That class is my uh--I'm there to learn, not to talk about my own stuff. And I'm there . . . when I'm teaching, I'm there as a reader, not a writer. And the more--it's extremely unpleasant, the more, uh, the more I'm there in a kind of writerly persona . . . There's this weird scam in creative writing workshops that somehow the teacher's gonna teach you how--they're gonna be able to teach you how to do exactly what it is they do. Which is why these programs try to pack themselves with the best- known and most- respected writers. ("Wraters") As if how good a writer you are and how good a teacher you are have anything to do with each other. I don't think so. I know too many really good writers who are shitty teachers, and vice versa, to think that. I think that the teaching . . . well, the teaching has helped my own writing a lot . . . So maybe I don't think that anymore. But the writers are often interested in preserving as much of their own time as they can.   [Hums while he plays chess: not tremendously good at chess; strong, however, at humming.]   Well, that really didn't do a whole heck of a lot for me, did it? Shit. All right, we've got time for one more move each and then we have to leave. I've got to brush my teeth. I took the job for the health insurance. [Illinois State University]   [Bathroom cabinet: lots of tubes of Topol. (He's a smoker.)   Dogs: Drone is "A provisional dog, he just showed up once while we were jogging," they took him on.]   Some kind of weird, "I've made a terrible mistake with my life, I need to be selling insurance in Oshkosh" sort of feeling. [We're talking about John Barth, and other writers who've gotten in trouble. A sudden in- the- wrong- place sense. An anxiety he felt before Infi nite Jest. ] I think that happens to a lot of writers.   [Went to Arizona State University. Edward Abbey was there . . . Robert Boswell helped him more than anybody . . . ]   I was so in thrall to Barth I just knew it would be sort of a grotesque thing. [Why he couldn't and didn't go to Hopkins. He patterned the longest part of his second book after Barth.]   • • •   in car, my rented grand am en route to class   This is the thing--you're gonna have to sit around, you can't even be in the office, because I'm gonna have to yell at a lot of people. I have to cut it short: just because we've gotta get up at five in the morning. This is what's fucked: it's that, these poor kids, I haven't been around for two weeks. And they all are gonna have various deals to discuss. [So sensitive about all performance] I'm usually a much better teacher than this. I swear to God.   Like doing readings?   No.   You were good.   Thanks. Tower Books--that's not one I was particularly pleased with. I get so nervous beforehand, and the nervousness is so unpleasant, that that's what I dislike. And I don't think my stuff reads out loud very well. And I think I come off looking like a maniac. Mainly I'm doing what they blew up to larger type size. I give like one or two readings in colleges a year. I gave 'em ten things and they blew up five of them. I read something ("sumpin' ") different at Tower just because this unbelievably cute girl from Spin magazine was there, and she didn't want to hear the same thing twice, so I totally trashed the plan. (He laughs.) And I never saw her again.   [The writer Elizabeth Wurtzel was at David's KGB reading--a kind of Brezhnev- and- Pravda - themed bar in Lower Manhattan. She was standing right up front. We turn out to both know Elizabeth.]   I don't know how Elizabeth--Liz got like the best seat in the house, using skills I think only Elizabeth has. Ah, she's real nice. She's a good egg. Good egg. When you're eighteen, you realize that--there's also a part of us that wants to be the president. And there's also a part that wants to fuck every attractive person of the gender of our choice. I mean, you know . . . Just, I think she's gotta be more--it's not an accident that she's depressed all the time. I don't know. Maybe I just project all kinds of weird stuff onto her . . .   • • •   david's class class: "advanced prose"   [Doesn't want a tape. Is comfortable with note- taking.]   Fluorescents, desks, steel wastepaper cans, boot smell, sweater smell, clock on wall, big table that David doesn't sit much behind. Fifteen students. Women sit, as at an old- line synagogue, slightly apart from men. David wearing Fryes, blue bandanna. Carrying Diet Pepsi.   Dave has noticed some surprising student errors this week.   Dave: Before we start, let's do a moment of Grammar Rock.   They laugh. He's the ideal, the professor you hope for: lightning writer, modern references, charming and funny and firm. The students know another thing: he's become, their bandanna- wearing teacher, during these past three weeks a suddenly celebrated man. And they want somehow to acknowledge it.   Student 1: Done being famous yet?   Dave: (Blush smile) Two more minutes.   Kid from back, suddenly: I knew him well, Horatio--a man of Infinite Jest . . .   Dave: OK, you're allowed one reference.   Quick chatter about his media appearances. It's exciting; a piece of their private life--this room and class--has gone suddenly public.   Student 2, female: I love the way the Trib described your office.   Student 3, female: Did you wind up, like, next to Dick Vitale and Hillary Clinton?   Dave says he got real nervous on the fl ights, kept picturing grave etc., from tour.   Student 4: Just put pepperoni and mushrooms on my Tombstone.   (A take- out, grocery pizza sort of joke.)   Dave: The words "pop quiz" is what's good about that. They talk about his magazine photos. Dave blushes more.   Dave: I didn't think, I didn't think--you can see my smiling maw. I thought, "Really? Is that me?"   Dave fishes out a Styrofoam cup after pawing through two wastebaskets, for someplace to put his chewing tobacco. Is also drinking a Diet Pepsi. Class begins with a jump from celebrity into the supernormal, the administrative.   Dave: Office hours next week. Bring light reading material, if you have to wait in the hallway.   Begins work on student stories.   Dave: (Offering Very Sensible advice. Lots of jobs for fiction, you have to keep track of twelve different things--characters, plot, sound, speed.) But 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.   He paces around the classroom. Happy, energetic. At one point, thinking, he even drops into a quick knee bend. Class laughs; they really like him.   Dave: I know--I get real excited, and now I'm squatting.   First story: by pretty student with a Rosanna Arquette mouth. Dave on story, always using TV: "I submit, it's kinda like a Sam and Diane thing. Or When Harry Met Sally. "   Classroom fluorescents flicker on and off, quiet fl ashes. Dave glances up.   Another story he likes: it's very open, but needs to be controlled. "This is just a head kinda vomiting at us . . ." Less likable story: "This is just a campus romance story. And to the average civilian, I've gotta tell you, this is not that interesting . . ."   Now at desk. Craning up and down when discussion and story get him excited. The student being workshopped is a punkish guy: mohawk, silver- and- yellow collar.   Dave: It's really hard to create a narrator who's alive. Take it from me.   Students: How?   Dave's advice is a kind of comedy, and makes them laugh.   Dave: To have the narrator be funny and smart, have him say funny, smart things some of the time.   He makes a flub, says quickly, "Brain fart." He stops for a second. Holds steady. "Excuse me, I'm about to burp." His delivery is darting and graceful: the Astaire quality of good teaching.   On the campus romance story. "The great dread of creative writing professors: 'Their eyes met over the keg . . . ' " The key to writing is learning to differentiate private interest from public entertainment. One aid is, you're supposed to get less self- interested as you age. But, "I think I am more self- absorbed at thirty- four than twenty- three. Because if it's interesting to me, I automatically imagine it's interesting to you. I could spend a half hour telling you about my trip to the store, but that might not be as interesting to you as it is to me." Reminds the class, as it breaks. Notebooks closing, bookbags rising from floor to desktop. Ruckle noises, kids standing. The week's two lessons.   Dave: Never--don't go there: "Their eyes met across the keg . . . " And "What's interesting to me may not be to you."   Still in good, buzzed- up mood after. Brings me a water to drink.   Dave: Where would you be without me? I hope it's not that same tobacco- Styrofoam cup.   • • •   isu hallway talking to colleagues after class   "Was it a success?" [Colleagues ask about Infinite Jest tour.] No vegetables were thrown, so I consider it a success. I just made enough money to live off it for a couple of years, so that's good. Excerpted from Although of Course You End up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace by David Lipsky All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.