George Saunders Interview

Saturday Mornings are amazing not only because the pace of the world changes for a bit, but because the Sunday edition of the New York Times arrives. We get the weekend subscription and that usually does us good for the week.

Today’s present included an interview with George Saunders – and while lengthy, it offered some amazing jewels that I have been carrying around all day long.

Aside from the start of the piece which pretty much makes you appreciate each moment of your life, there is a true gem of a quote that I have gone back to many times already and am still mulling over in my head.

George Saunders says:

“I began to understand art as a kind of black box the reader enters,” Saunders wrote in an essay on Vonnegut. “He enters in one state of mind and exits in another. The writer gets no points just because what’s inside the box bears some linear resemblance to ‘real life’ — he can put whatever he wants in there. What’s important is that something undeniable and nontrivial happens to the reader between entry and exit. . . . In fact, ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ seemed to be saying that our most profound experiences may require this artistic uncoupling from the actual. The black box is meant to change us. If the change will be greater via the use of invented, absurd material, so be it.”

That is a very profound statement and one that has caused me to pause for a moment. Whatever is inside of the story is not really important – but it’s the change the reader goes through. Amazing. Going to chew on that one all day as I try to fit that in with French movies and the world inside the human brain.

 

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