More Awful by Degrees

Riding Toward Everywhere "When I was finishing this book, Cormac McCarthy's The Road came out and I was thinking that, of course, is the life that a real hobo would be living and how awful it would be to live that life. Much more awful than the life that we are living now.

But the life we are all living now seems to be getting more and more awful by degrees. The control of thought, the fear, the acceptance of torture, the war crimes — all these things kind of make a mockery out of what being American is supposed to be, is supposed to mean.

And so who are we? In a way, we are all either living a lie or living nothing. And I'm trying to figure out how to stop living the lie that I live.

So who are we and where do we go? What should we be doing? And there's no answer. Except, once we think we know, we failed. And that is one of the reasons that I write a book without a beginning and end, and why I get on a train without knowing where the train is going to go."

...

"In part, to be an American means to go out and seek for a little piece of paradise. The frontier closed officially around the turn of the twentieth century, but we're still looking for it. We still love the idea that there's and economic frontier, a sexual frontier, an artistic frontier, somehow we're trying to sublimate it. But all these frontiers are rather lonely and we're less likely to meet people in our travels than ever before. So we become more narcissistic and solipsistic and more fearful."

~ "Fauxbo" William T. Vollmann, discussing his book Riding Toward Everywhere on KCRW's Bookworm (3.27.08)