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George Saunders Quotes
- Page 3
I'm finding, as I get older, that I'm not much of a believer in redemption. I mean, I believe in redemption in real life - redemption does happen, and it's cool when it does - but I find myself getting leery of my desire for it in stories (especially my own).
If death is in the room, it's pretty interesting. But I would also say that I'm interested in getting myself to believe that it's going to happen to me. I'm interested in it, because if you're not, you're nuts. It's really de facto what we're here to find out about.
It seems to me a worthy goal: try to create a representation of consciousness that's durable and truthful, i.e., that accounts, somewhat, for all the strange, tiny, hard-to-articulate, instantaneous, unwilled things that actually go on in our minds in the course of a given day, or even a given moment.
Chekhov - shall I be blunt? - is the greatest short story writer who ever lived.
You know, you can talk about race, you can talk about sex, you can talk about your biopsy. But when you get into class, people kind of clench up.
Back in 1992, I had my first story accepted by 'The New Yorker.'
For me, the game would be to assume a very intelligent reader who can extrapolate a lot from a little. And that's become my definition of art; to get that pitch just right, where I can put a hint on page three, and the reader's ears go up a bit, as opposed to dropping it all on the first page.
If you think of a work of fiction as a kind of scale model of the world, then the positive valences - where things turn out better than you thought they would - ought to be in there somewhere, too.
Stories, as much as we like to talk about them, retrospectively, as emanations of theme or worldview or intention, occur primarily as technical objects when they're being written. Or at least they do for me. They're the result of thousands of decisions made at speed during revision.
Whatever your supposed politics are - left, right - if you put it in a human connection, most people will rise to the occasion and feel the human pain in a way that they might not if it was presented in a more conceptual way.
I often think about image, and image is something that - but in truth, the real artistic process, as I've understood it, is 95 percent intuitive, like seat-of-the-pants, at-the-moment decisions that you can't even explain, you know?
I was a straight arrow, a control freak. I didn't do drugs or drink, and this was the '70s. I didn't like the loss of control. Which isn't exactly right, because I didn't know what happened when you did drugs.
There's a really nice moment in the life of a piece of writing where the writer starts to get a feeling of it outgrowing him - or he starts to see it having a life of its own that doesn't have anything to do with his ego or his desire to 'be a good writer.'
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Robert A. Heinlein
H. L. Mencken
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