This news is truly awful. David Foster Wallace was a brilliant writer who could pack humanity, nuance and humor into the description of a single moment. His writing was inspiring, thoughtful, deeply personal, amazingly complex at times, but always, always, engaging. He imagined everyday people in completely new ways. Wallace’s humanity, the humanity that he bestowed upon the page was perhaps his greatest gift. Unlike many writers, he carried no identifiable agenda, either politically or morally, he simply tried to bring to life a range of characters that in “real” world would have been marginalized and forgotten about.
Like Donald Barthelme, David Foster Wallace’s writing had a great impact on how I write and how I view the act of writing itself. I reread a few of his shorter pieces this morning and was reminded again why his writing carried such profound weight for me.