A Drink with Vollmann

[In 2006, I put up a blog post in which I let my affection for William T. Vollmann’s work get a bit out of hand. In so doing, I unintentionally violated the man’s privacy. Thus, I have elected to remove this post.]


  1. Hi, Ed,
    I worked with Vollmann at the Book Soup event this Wednesday. I only recently discovered his books (thanks to all members of the Vollmann club, I owe you!), so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was amazed at what a genuinely kind and unassuming person he is (I was a bit intimidated at first; reading his works one gets the feeling that he’s read everything and is nothing short of the smartest man on the planet). He did the same at our store, inviting attendees for drinks, etc. (I was amazed at some of the people who came – some brought cartons full of his books, others had never read them but simply ate up his time chatting at the q & a or in line) I actually did go but was (dammit, I regret this so much) too shy to really interact with him. He asked us all what we were reading at the time, what we thought of e-books, etc. Again, amazed at how nice he was, even when some drunks sent a couple of waitresses over to bother him. He’s really a people person.

    Yeah, so, just thought I’d share. And say thank you, once again, for forming the Vollmann club (all of you involved with it).

    Definitely, definitely hang around if he mentions drinks.

  2. Ed — Your post confirms what I knew must be true — I damn well should have been at the Vollmann reading here in LA at Book Soup. I fretted. I frayed. I was moving. I was unpacking. I made excuses. I consoled myself with the idea that I had not read enough of his work to make my write-up of the reading, q/a and subsequent interactions worthwhile. But ALL ALONG, I was thinking – a comparison with DFW and Vollmann would be divine. AND I was thinking “Ed would dig this if I did it.” Alas, I did not, fearful that I would fall flat being a far less a seasoned Vollmann reader than you. I also knew that if I did not manage to go, you would do it up properly from SF. And you have. Thank you.

    But it does pain me — pain me — to think I could have had a drink with Vollmann if I had simply gotten up the moxie.

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