Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Post Two, In Which We Have Drinks with William T. Vollmann

Last night, as we walked to Politics and Prose, we talked about what would happen if we were to go out drinking with William T. Vollmann: "I'd wake up in Peru, underneath a prostitute, missing my kidney," I joked. We later found out that drinking with Vollmann was not quite as dangerous as we'd led ourselves to believe, when he invited Finn, Annie, Sean and me (among other attendees at his reading) out to drinks at Comet, a bar just down the street. Finn asked Vollmann about a story David Foster Wallace had told once, about how how he (Vollmann) had pulled out a gun in the middle of a reading and fired several blanks. "Yeah, I did that," Vollmann said. "It's a good way to punctuate things. The first time, it was a surprise. The second time it wasn't, and the third time, there was kind of an anticlimax, I just took out the gun and cocked it." He mimed the motion of cocking a gun.
Vollmann also mentioned Bob Guccione, who he said published his work even if he completely disagreed with his opinion. "Bob Guccione has become kind of a family myth for me," I told him. "He was my grandmother's cousin, and he would show up for funerals and just give the widow an undisclosed amount of money, kiss her on each cheek, and then leave." Vollmann listened to all of our stories, and when Sean told a story about a man on PCP, he asked, "Have you guys ever tried PCP?" "No," we said. "Me neither," he replied, "I don't like the loss of control. It's why I don't do hallucinogens anymore."
We left after a little while, but Vollmann signed the title page of Finn's thesis, and gave him his P.O. Box so Finn could send it to him when he was done. I'm happy (but maybe also a little bit disappointed) to say, we all still have our internal organs.

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