William T. Vollmann Quotes

Enjoy the top 120 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by William T. Vollmann.

William T. Vollmann Quotes

Looking at her, thinking of her transported him, which struck him as vile because now it was hard for him not to despise the icy serenity of their earlier relations. And he knew that he should not love her, for she had been someone else whom he was supposed to love differently. -What is loneliness? Does the lonely space between two rocks vanish when spanned by a spider web?
— William T. Vollmann —

I studied Comparative Literature at Cornell. Structuralism was real big then. The idea of reading and writing as being this language game. There's a lot of appeal to that. It's nice to think of it as this playful kind of thing. But I think that another way to look at it is "Look, I just want to be sincere. I want to write something and make you feel something and maybe you will go out and do something." And it seems that the world is in such bad shape now that we don't have time to do nothing but language games. That's how it seems to me.

— William T. Vollmann

Death cannot be experienced either by the dead or the living.

— William T. Vollmann

Great art projects a sense of inexhaustibility. In literature, particularly in poetry, this may be accomplished through ambiguity: Beneath each and every meaning that I can descry lie others, so that rereading holds out the prospect of new subtleties, inversions, secret codes and ineffabilities

— William T. Vollmann

I don't believe in a personal god. It's good to give thanks, whether or not there's a god. There's no reason not to live life to the fullest. Morality is all the more important for people who don't expect to get a piece of celestial candy after they die.

— William T. Vollmann

The instant people specialize, it's in their interest to dehumanize the people their specialized function operates upon.

— William T. Vollmann

Everybody is an expert on one thing - that's what I learned in my high school journalism class - and that's, of course, his own life. And everybody deserves to live and have his story told. And if it doesn't seem like an interesting story, then that's the failure of the listener, or the journalist who retells it badly.

— William T. Vollmann

So far, I've never missed a deadline for a term paper, a review, a manuscript. I perform the mumbo-jumbo of voting with belief in my heart, I've not yet won even a jaywalking ticket, and unlike my father, whom I fault in this respect, I refrain from opting out of jury duty; instead, they mostly kick me out.

— William T. Vollmann

Don't write for money.

— William T. Vollmann

I might enjoy writing some ghost stories set in Japan because their whole idea about the spirit world is so interesting.

— William T. Vollmann

Americans worry that Afghanistan has become a petri dish in which the germs of Islamic fanaticism are replicating - soon Afghans will be hijacking American planes and bombing embassies everywhere. And their fears are not necessarily unfounded. The Taliban are unemployed war veterans, ready and even eager to return to the battlefield.

— William T. Vollmann

Once you've finished typing and moving text around and everything else, you have to leave it alone for a while. You do that to see if it stands up, to see if all the loose edges have been trimmed, if it makes sense, if it's consistent, what shape it really has. You can't tell that while you're working on it.

— William T. Vollmann

Perhaps Bug and Tony should have been allies. But any successful structure of domination always gets the weak to reject each other.

— William T. Vollmann

As surely as the town of Rochelle is Protestant I can see you now becoming impatient. The covers of my book are between your relentless palms. A single hint of insolence on this page, the faintest shine of gloating over all these delays, and you will slam the volume shut - don't claim I can't predict it!

— William T. Vollmann

Frank thought. Each time he became someone else's spy it got easier. The ideological virgin usually finds his first time an excruciating experience, just as an amateur hiker, used to the straight-and-narrow freeway of nine-to-five reliability, looks askance at the boulder-strewn path of mercenary betrayal, winding on up into the clouds and down into terrible moraines. But after the first time, the pain and intimacy and guilt becomes a habit subject to check listed procedures; and to the professional, the politically promiscuous soul, all that matters is the craft itself, the right skitter and stab and swing of the hips, so that in the end you can laugh at the inevitability of your own violent death. Frank was now almost at that stage.

— William T. Vollmann

Luck, like life itself, is no certain thing, but a loveliness which may alight upon my shoulder but more often seems to be some unknown brilliant quantity in motion.

— William T. Vollmann

I've never shot a civilian except when under orders.

— William T. Vollmann

Although my work leads me to spend time with Nazi skinheads, diseased street prostitutes and homeless alcoholics, I do not have the strength of character to be a pathologist.

— William T. Vollmann

(sunglasses make the world quieter and safer, as if you are viewing things behind smoked windows fronting your skull-house: you are inside and the world is outside, and the world cannot see into you; mirror sunglasses double the armor),

— William T. Vollmann

Oh, ants, my sisters, good old honeydew-seekers! From close up you are sticky and shiny and gristly; and your nymphs have parasitic red mites stuck to them. You are too intent upon your chewing and gathering to listen to me, but I tell you that despite my warm feelings I really do not like you, and I cannot feel sorry for you in any way because there are too many of you and you are not cute at all. You eat too much of my forests; you are a rebellious tribe, and I will destroy you; I will poison your nests with sweet-smelling traps.

— William T. Vollmann

Some friends and I, we went right up there behind the studio and we got on a train, we could tell it was going to go to Roseville. We got off it and got on another train. And we got to Roseville, and it takes hours to get through that yard. It's really big. So we ended up just coming back here. It's like fishing or hunting. You can't always come back with something.

— William T. Vollmann

I decided that there is really some sort of entity that I call Imperial, and I decided to extend it all the way along the California-Mexico border and into Tijuana and then to the Pacific because it all has a similar feeling.

— William T. Vollmann

It will be fun to give some to prostitutes,

— William T. Vollmann

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