On the "writer's writer," George Saunders:
"We talked for a while about his relationship to Wallace. For all the ways in which their fiction might seem to be working similar themes, they were, Saunders said, 'like two teams of miners, digging at the same spot but from different directions.' He described making trips to New York in the early days and having 'three or four really intense afternoons and evenings' with, on separate occasions, Wallace and Franzen and Ben Marcus, talking to each of them about what 'the ultimate aspiration for fiction was.' Saunders added: 'The thing on the table was emotional fiction. How do we make it? How do we get there? Is there something yet to be discovered? These were about the possibly contrasting desire to: (1) write stories that had some sort of moral heft and/or were not just technical exercises or cerebral games; while (2) not being cheesy or sentimental or reactionary.'"
PUBLISHED: Jan. 3, 2013
LENGTH: 24 minutes (6158 words)
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.' "
PUBLISHED: Aug. 2, 2011
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4486 words)