George Saunders In a little sushi restaurant in Syracuse, George Saunders conceded that, sure, one reality was that he and I were a couple guys talking fiction and eating avocado salad and listenin
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He talked for a while about how difficult the first year after his divorce was and how it affected his work. "For one, I couldn't really talk about my wife anymore. Not that I was ever really talking about her, exactly, but now I couldn't do that at all; I couldn't talk about the woman I was divorced from. She deserves her privacy. But that meant I had no idea where I was going to get material. It was like, 'Oh, shit, there goes my act.' " He didn't really go into why his marriage ended, except to say that they hadn't been making each other happy for a while and finally had to admit it was done. "I just sat in my pajamas for like two years," he said. "And I was nothing for my kids. And then eventually I climbed out of it and was just like, 'I can't do this. I can't fuck around like this.' I focused on the kids, and they saved my life. I thought, 'Everything's based on them now.' "
There are worse places to be stuck in traffic than midtown Manhattan, worse people to be stuck with than Philip Roth.
"I would like to take the great DiMaggio fishing," the old man said. "They say his father was a fisherman. Maybe he was as poor as we are and would understand." --Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
Spalding Gray moved to New York City in 1967, shortly after his mothers suicide, when he was 26.
PUBLISHED: Oct. 6, 2011
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4704 words)