Posts tagged George Saunders
3 things for today

Like all writers, I don't get plot. I don't understand it, I don't like it, whenever I try to come up with it outside of a story, it makes me crazy. So one thing I've found is that if you spend a lot of time creating and then revising one of these voice-driven monologues, and really working with it as text, you know, trying to make it sing, what happens I think is that the lens gets very fine. And a very small tendency in the person as a character will sort of get heightened a little bit, and that's where plot comes from.

Linda Holmes wrote a beautiful piece on Anthony Bourdain yesterday, and in it she mentions that he had been one of her guides, along with Roger Ebert: someone who demonstrated for her how a life could be lived ("a guide to being, as to paraphrase John Muir, in the world rather than just on it"). George Saunders is this for me—a generous voice of calm and reason, as well as a gentle nudge, and a necessary reminder that there are many, many ways to be a writer.

2: I always walk out of a heist movie feeling taller and stronger and a little aggressive, like I'm tough enough to evade a police chase or punch a worthy perp in the chops and sail away with a cool million. Ocean's 8 is no great heist movie (nor a great movie period: objectively, it is not a very good movie), but it was great fun, and a heist movie, so I will let it pass. There's something about watching a group of confident, breezy hucksters perform utterly frivolous magic tricks on scandalously wealthy villains and/or corporate entities—and get away with it—that just really fires me up.

Serious query though: what's the difference between a heist and a caper? I feel it’s largely a matter of tone, or sensibility, but can't quite put my finger on the divide, only that capers feel more madcap, more screwball, more Cary Grant. More Muppet? That's my general theory, anyway; feel free to crowdsource this one amongst yourself.

3: I was reminded again this morning via SiriusXM's THE BRIDGE that sometimes the old joys are the best (as is SiriusXM's THE BRIDGE):

George Saunders on “A Christmas Carol”

On the occasion of my annual viewing of A Muppet Christmas Carol, here's George Saunders on the book he wishes he'd written:

I love the book’s boldness, how willing it is to throw an arm around the reader and say: This concerns you too. Near the end, Scrooge stands looking at what everyone in the world except Scrooge must by now know is Scrooge’s own grave. The reader can’t help imagining his or her own grave, and to have the same reaction Scrooge is having: That grave is similar to mine, but it is not mine, since mine will never exist, since I am not going to die. Then that bony finger juts out, urging Scrooge to look, and he gets the message, and so do we: death is real, time is short – yes, even for us. But for now, the world exists (it still exists!) and is seen, correctly, as a kind of joyous field of potential play: a place to learn to love.