Wreck This Journal: David Foster Wallace


This week’s Wreck This Journal is a little bit different from the rest.   Instead of destroying, ripping, or bending with my own independent spirit, I found myself paying homage to a writer who I greatly admire. I’ve written about David Foster Wallace before, but I don’t think I can ever properly convey how much he means to me as a wordsmith and a source of inspiration.  His essays, novels, and short stories capture the truth of humanity  with an unparalleled sense of humor, compassion, and honesty.

Shortly after his untimely death, a speech he gave at Kenyon College in 2005 was published as a small book called This Is Water.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve either read or listened to Wallace’s words concerning life, awareness, and the power of choice.  His philosophy is one I consider on an almost daily basis as it reminds me to see everything with relentless curiosity and wonder.

So, when Wreck This Journal gave instructions to doodle on the inside covers of my journal, I couldn’t help but scribble some of my favorite lines from “This Is Water”.  This entire process has been about making a choice to let go and see things from a new perspective, which is a main point in just about everything Wallace writes.  My journal just wouldn’t be complete without him.

Click on each image for a full-size view, (it makes it much easier to read!).


Words to live by as far as I’m concerned.

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For previous Wreck This Journal posts please visit my sidebar and tag cloud.

c.b. 2011

28 thoughts on “Wreck This Journal: David Foster Wallace

    • He always inspires me to be honest and simply be myself when I write. I’ve been told I have a strong voice and I like to think DFW’s influence had a little to do with that. He always wrote from such a distinct point of view. 🙂


  1. Another great post! It’s funny because I was inspired by you to order Wreck This Journal. It finally came and instead of diving in, I went back to The Artist’s Way – something I’d tried a couple of times and never completed. I wrote about my debut day the third time around and mentioned you as my inspiration – which you were!

    Perhaps 12 weeks from now, I’ll get on to the Wreck this Journal. 😉


    • This Is Water is a good place to start as it gives a great sense of his personality and viewpoint. His work is quite diverse, ranging from complicated novels to hysterical essays and article, so its really helpful to understand him before trying to understand his writing (sometimes it can get a little difficult!). All in all, its worth the work to read his books. 🙂


  2. Susanne

    What an interesting man and a shame the world lost him too soon. He had his demons he battled as we all do. This idea of freedom is an important one and he writes beautifully about achieving personal freedom. The daily mucky mucky of life can sometimes create a lot of emotional havoc that makes us forget to have these higher personal aspirtaions. My decision making process is not always this rational while standing in line to renew my driver’s license. But it’s good to read this and be reminded we have more control over our lives, of our behiavior than we realize, especially when our emotions and the petty stuff of life might have us think less about sacrifice for others and more about what’s in it for me!


  3. Since you mentioned “This is water” awhile back, I’ve listened or read the transcript of the speech innumerable times. And every time it moves me. I’m reading Infinite Jest right now, and every page blows my mind. I’m thrilled to see his words revived through your endlessly entertaining posts about that brilliant nugget of a journal!


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