A Postcard from David Foster Wallace

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In the current age of Twitter and Facebook, some authors seem just one click away–a kind of celebrity that is still accessible to the common fan.

Frank Cassese tells a story in Guernica about when he received a postcard from David Foster Wallace in response to the manuscript he had sent. At first his reaction was distress–how could Wallace not read his manuscript? It was another rejection just like all the others, except this one was so cheap Wallace couldn’t even pay for full postage.

Years later, though, the message Wallace sent, that just because writers are not constantly being published “doesn’t mean we’re wasting our time,” feels more poignant. He even took some of his own time to carefully handwrite a note, to make sure Cassese knew.


Caroline Kangas calls both Seattle and San Francisco home (though she currently resides in the latter). She recently received a mouthful of a liberal arts degree from the University of San Francisco and can be found selling pirate supplies at 826 Valencia or wandering the streets with her diva of a french bulldog, Elle. More from this author →