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A collection of quotes and thoughts by David Foster Wallace on water, infinite-jest, loneliness, poem, life, unendurable, moment, irony, pain, culture, artist and fiction.

100 Great Quotes By David Foster Wallace That Will Help You Craft Literary Oeuvre

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David Foster Wallace was a prolific American writer and and creative writing instructor. Wallace was crowned as one of the most innovative and influential writers of the last twenty years. His book titled, ‘Infinite Jest’ made it to the list of ‘One of the hundred best English-language novel’ to be published between 1923-2005. In 2012, his last novel ‘The Pale King’ became the final selection for ‘Pulitzer Prize For Fiction’. Wallace’s thoughts, work, writings, views, opinions and books have inspired many writers which include, ‘Matthew Gallaway’, ‘Jonathan Franzen’, ‘Dave Eggers’, ‘Charles Yu’, ‘Rivka Galchen’, ‘Elizabeth Wurtzel’, ‘George Saunders’ and ‘Darin Strauss’. Read through the famous quotable quotations and sayings by David Foster Wallace which have been gathered from his writings, essays, short-stories, books, work and life.

Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

I do things like get in a taxi and say, "The library, and step on it.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

We're all lonely for something we don't know we're lonely for. How else to explain the curious feeling that goes around feeling like missing somebody we've never even met?

- David Foster Wallace

Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it.

- David Foster Wallace

Try to learn to let what is unfair teach you.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

Fiction’s about what it is to be a fucking human being.

- David Foster Wallace

Whatever you get paid attention for is never what you think is most important about yourself.

- David Foster Wallace

It's weird to feel like you miss someone you're not even sure you know.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

The parts of me that used to think I was different or smarter or whatever, almost made me die.

- David Foster Wallace

How odd I can have all this inside me and to you it’s just words.

- The Pale King, David Foster Wallace

Acceptance is usually more a matter of fatigue than anything else.

- David Foster Wallace

It did what all ads are supposed to do: create an anxiety relievable by purchase.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

I had kind of a midlife crisis at twenty which probably doesn’t augur well for my longevity

- David Foster Wallace

Lonely people tend, rather, to be lonely because they decline to bear the psychic costs of being around other humans. They are allergic to people. People affect them too strongly.

- A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments, David Foster Wallace

There's good self-consciousness, and then there's toxic, paralyzing, raped-by-psychic-Bedouins self-consciousness.

- David Foster Wallace

Te Occidere Possunt Sed Te Edere Non Possunt Nefas Est" ("They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are quite a bit dicier").

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

You have decided being scared is caused mostly by thinking.

- David Foster Wallace

...logical validity is not a guarantee of truth.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant.

- Oblivion, David Foster Wallace

Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.

- Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, David Foster Wallace

And Lo, for the Earth was empty of Form, and void. And Darkness was all over the Face of the Deep. And We said: 'Look at that fucker Dance.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

The thing about people who are truly and malignantly crazy: their real genius is for making the people around them think they themselves are crazy. In military science this is called Psy-Ops, for your info.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

Good fiction’s job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.

- David Foster Wallace

To be, in a word, unborable.... It is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish

- The Pale King, David Foster Wallace

I'd like to be the sort of person who can enjoy things at the time, instead of having to go back in my head and enjoy them.

- David Foster Wallace

True heroism is minutes, hours, weeks, year upon year of the quiet, precise, judicious exercise of probity and care—with no one there to see or cheer. This is the world.

- The Pale King, David Foster Wallace

I have filled 3 Mead notebooks trying to figure out whether it was Them or Just Me.

- A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments, David Foster Wallace

The interesting thing is why we're so desperate for this anesthetic against loneliness.

- David Foster Wallace

Sarcasm and jokes were often the bottle in which clinical depressives sent out their most plangent screams for someone to care and help them.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

... That no single, individual moment is in and of itself unendurable.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

Every love story is a ghost story.

- The Pale King, David Foster Wallace

I never, even for a moment, doubted what they’d told me. This is why it is that adults and even parents can, unwittingly, be cruel: they cannot imagine doubt’s complete absence. They have forgotten.

- David Foster Wallace

Mary had a little lamb, its fleece electrostatic / And everywhere Mary went, the lights became erratic.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

I'd tell you all you want and more, if the sounds I made could be what you hear

- David Foster Wallace

Mediocrity is contextual.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

The integrity of my sleep has been forever compromised, sir.

- David Foster Wallace

There are no choices without personal freedom, Buckeroo. It's not us who are dead inside. These things you find so weak and contemptible in us---these are just the hazards of being free.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

Quentin Tarantino is interested in watching somebody's ear getting cut off; David Lynch is interested in the ear.

- A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments, David Foster Wallace

Why not? Why not?Why not not, then, if the best reasoning you can contrive is why not?

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

Psychotics, say what you want about them, tend to make the first move.

- David Foster Wallace

The sun like a sneaky keyhole view of hell.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

I don't think writers are any smarter than other people. I think they may be more compelling in their stupidity, or in their confusion.

- David Foster Wallace

God seems to have a kind of laid-back management style I’m not crazy about.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

Truly decent, innocent people can be taxing to be around.

- Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, David Foster Wallace

...morning is the soul's night.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

You are what you love. No? You are, completely and only, what you would die for without, as you say, the thinking twice.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

This is so American, man: either make something your god and cosmos and then worship it, or else kill it.

- David Foster Wallace

I like the fans’ sound at night. Do you? It’s like somebody big far away goes like: it’sOKit’sOKit’sOKit’sOK, over and over. From very far away.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

I am not what you see and hear.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

The assumption that you everyone else is like you. That you are the world. The disease of consumer capitalism. The complacent solipsism.

- The Pale King, David Foster Wallace

...the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about.

- This Is Water: Some Thoughts, David Foster Wallace

Almost nothing important that ever happens to you happens because you engineer it.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

To make someone an icon is to make him an abstraction, and abstractions are incapable of vital communication with living people.

- Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, David Foster Wallace

...most Substance-addicted people are also addicted to thinking, meaning they have a compulsive and unhealthy relationship with their own thinking.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

There is no hatred in my love for you. Only a sadness I feel all the more strongly for my inability to explain or describe it.

- The Broom of the System, David Foster Wallace

That everything is on fire, slow fire, and we're all less than a million breaths away from an oblivion more total than we can even bring ourselves to even try to imagine...

- The Pale King, David Foster Wallace

My bones are ringing the way sometimes people say their ears are ringing, I'm so tired.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard's vote.

- Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, David Foster Wallace

He suddenly felt nothing, or rather Nothing, a pre-tornadic stillness of zero sensation, as if he were the very space he occupied.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

Hell hath no fury like a coolly received postmodernist.

- Girl With Curious Hair, David Foster Wallace

... it takes great personal courage to let yourself appear weak.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

Words and a book and a belief that the world is words...

- The Broom of the System, David Foster Wallace

American experience seems to suggest that people are virtually unlimited in their need to give themselves away, on various levels. Some just prefer to do it in secret.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

All I'm saying is that it's shortsighted to blame TV. It's simply another symptom. TV didn't invent our aesthetic childishness here any more than the Manhattan Project invented aggression.

- David Foster Wallace

Capital T-truth is about life before death.

- This Is Water: Some Thoughts, David Foster Wallace

Tell them there are no holes for your fingers in the masks of men. Tell them how could you ever even hope to love what you can't grab onto.

- Girl With Curious Hair, David Foster Wallace

Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence.

- This Is Water: Some Thoughts, David Foster Wallace

Everything I’ve ever let go of had claw marks on it.

- David Foster Wallace

I don't want to hurt myself. I want to stop hurting.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

...Genuine pathological openness is about as seductive as Tourette's Syndrome.

- David Foster Wallace

I am concentrating docilely on the question why U.S. restrooms always appear to us as infirmaries for public distress, the place to reagain control.

- David Foster Wallace

I wish you way more than luck.

- This Is Water: Some Thoughts, David Foster Wallace

There are secrets within secrets, though--always.

- The Pale King, David Foster Wallace

It's all very confusing. I think I'm very honest and candid, but I'm also proud of how honest and candid I am -- so where does that put me?

- David Foster Wallace

To experience commitment as the loss of options, a type of death, the death of childhood's limitless possibility, of the flattery of choice without duress-this will happen, mark me. Childhood's end.

- The Pale King, David Foster Wallace

The true thoughts that go on inside us are just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of, at most, one tiny little part of us at any given instant.

- David Foster Wallace

The severing of an established connection is exponentially more painful than the rejection of an attempted connection.

- The Broom of the System, David Foster Wallace

When a solipsist dies ... everything goes with him.

- Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, David Foster Wallace

It is named the "Web" for good reason.

- David Foster Wallace

I'm screaming for help and everybody's acting as if I'm singing Ethel Merman covers...

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

Yes, I'm paranoid — but am I paranoid enough?

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

Look. Listen. Use ears I'd be proud to call our own. Listen to the silence behind the engines' noise. Jesus, Sweets, listen. Hear it? It's a love song. For whom? You are loved.

- Girl with Curious Hair, David Foster Wallace

Life's endless war against the self you cannot live without.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

Please learn the pragmatics of expressing fear: sometimes words that seem to express really invoke. This can be tricky.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

That it is statistically easier for low-IQ people to kick an addiction than it is for high-IQ people...That boring activities become, perversely, much less boring if you concentrate intently on them.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

I'm just afraid of having a tombstone that says HERE LIES A PROMISING OLD MAN.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

And he wishes, in the cold quiet of his archer's heart, that he himself could feel the intensity of their reconciliations as strongly as he feels that of their battles.

- Girl With Curious Hair, David Foster Wallace

Not that that mystical stuff's necessarily true: The only thing that's capital-T true is that you get to decide how you're going to try to see it.

- This Is Water: Some Thoughts, David Foster Wallace

There are very few innocent sentences in writing.

- David Foster Wallace

This is water.

- This Is Water: Some Thoughts, David Foster Wallace

She committed suicide by putting her extremities down the garbage disposal-first one arm and then, kind of miraculously if you think about it, the other arm.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

She took a sort of abject pride in her mecilessness toward herself.

- Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, David Foster Wallace

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.

- David Foster Wallace

Worship your body, beauty, and sexual allure and you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you.

- David Foster Wallace

-the soul's certainty that the day will have to be not traversed but sort of climbed, vertically, and then that going to sleep again at the end of it will be like falling, again, off something tall and sheer.

- Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

That what appears to be egoism so often isn't.

- The Pale King, David Foster Wallace

My worst character flaw that I'm conscious of is that I tend to think my way into circles instead of resolving anything. It's paralyzing and boring for people around me.

- David Foster Wallace

The depressed person was in terrible and unceasing pain, and the impossibility of sharing or articulating this pain was itself a component of the pain and a contributing factor in its essential horror.

- Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, David Foster Wallace