Monday, October 29, 2012

I Gave Donald Ray Pollock the Wrong Book, Yep


I had the pleasure to meet and talk with Donald Ray Pollock a couple weeks back.  The author of Knockemstiff and The Devil All the Time, Don is, without question, a fine writer.  But don’t doubt for a second that he’s a standup guy, too.

On invite from the gracious Tom Williams, I attended the ceremony at which Don was presented with the annual Chaffin Award in Appalachian Literature at Morehead State University.  Prior to the ceremony (and a thoroughly enjoyable reading from Don) Tom introduced me and Don and we spoke for a bit about the simple act of keeping the nose to the grindstone and having people around you who support such a strange profession as being an “author” and just shooting bull.

I had a few copies of my collection in the car and had grabbed one up to take to Don as a gift, a token of appreciation for sharing his work with all of us.  He accepted and I apologized for seeming strange, giving a dude my own book at his award ceremony, a day that was his day.  His response was perfect, saying, “Who would ever complain about being given a book?”

Truth, Don.  Truth.

All was well until I made it about halfway home.  I checked my other copies (all of which were signed to various folks I intend to send to friends, fellow writers, etc.) and jerked as if punched in the throat.  Don’s copy was right there in the seat beside me.  I searched the others and found one missing – my copy for Logan Rogers, the talented graphic artist who had designed the cover for my collection.

Now Donald Ray Pollock had a copy of my book signed, “Logan, thanks for the great cover work!  Enjoy!”

I wrote Don that same day and explained the mix-up.  Cool as a cucumber, he offered to simply mail Logan’s copy along to him with a provided address and said if I’d send another to him at his address, all would be well.

Try to beat that, folks.  That’s an understanding cat, right there.  So, again, thanks to you, Don.

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