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My Actual David Foster Wallace Dreams

July 27, 1998
I'm David Foster Wallace, the ex-enfant terrible of contemporary American literature, driving on a gray day along an industrial/railroad strip I live near in real life. The drive is from my P.O.V. (point of view), and I narrate the whole drive as him. I can't remember the narration.

November 15, 1998
A blonde white guy and a blind black guy assault me in a darkened bar, then spitefully damage my hardback copy of David Foster Wallace's 1996 novel Infinite Jest. Close-up of the crushed novel with torn dust jacket.

March 17, 1999
While ferrying past a light blue bridge, I drop my hardback copy of Infinite Jest into a bridge nook, the novel hanging precariously above the water. I snatch up the book and hold it aloft in victory, only to see the dust jacket has become severely tattered.

March 31, 2000
I stand in a crowd at Kennywood (an amusement park in Pittsburgh), watching the dedication of a new wooden roller coaster, the Magic Bolt. I look at the side of the coaster and think, "David Foster Wallace should be up there." One second later, someone announces over the loudspeakers, "And here's David Foster Wallace," followed by the sudden appearance on the coaster's side of a huge flat wooden black-and-white David Foster Wallace head, sans bandanna, made from large photographic printing dots.

February 7, 2001
I sit at a table. A young man sits to my left, at the head of the table. A young woman sits across from me. We participate in a contest in which whoever can form the most words from the letters T-R-A-G-E in thirty seconds wins a trip to New York City. I write down nine words, and so does the other man. The woman writes down ten words on the back of a credit card and wins. I wonder if the letters might have actually been T-A-G-U-S, after the surname Tagus in "Say Never" in David Foster Wallace's 1989 short story collection, Girl with Curious Hair.

The words I formed out of T-R-A-G-E in slightly over thirty seconds, after waking: art, rat, wake, at, ate, gate, grate, great, get, rag, rage, age, ear, gear, tear, tea, are, tar, eat, era, ager, tag, gar, gat, ret.

June 3, 2001
I discover to my distress, in my bedroom, that someone has penciled extensive marginal notes in "Octet" in my hardback copy of David Foster Wallace's 1999 short story collection, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. I'm upset I have to drive to the local Half Price Books to look for a new copy, but I awaken before I can leave.

Copyright © 2002, David V. Matthews.

David V. Matthews is a writer and artist in Pittsburgh, PA. He has previously published articles and reviews in City Paper. You can find more of his work on his website, Pixel Stupor (