George Saunders

The universal human laws - need, love for the beloved, fear, hunger, periodic exaltation, the kindness that rises up naturally in the absence of hunger/fear/pain - are constant, predictable, reliable, universal, and are merely ornamented with the details of local culture.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Love, Kindness, Fear

The mind is a machine that is constantly asking: What would I prefer? Close your eyes, refuse to move, and watch what your mind does. What it does is become discontent with that-which-is. A desire arises, you satisfy that desire, and another arises in its place.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Eyes, Mind, Desire

The word 'funny' is a bit like the word 'love' - we don't have enough words to describe the many varieties.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Funny, Love, Words

The chances of a person breaking through their own habits and sloth and limited mind to actually write something that gets out there and matters to people are slim.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Mind, People, Habits

I was trained in seismic prospecting. We'd drill a deep hole and put dynamite in the bottom and blow it up remotely, which would give you a cross-sectional picture of the subsurface, which tells you where to drill.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Deep, Picture, You

You don't want to be that parent - the one who dresses his kid in a cloth sack when all the other kids are in Armani cloth sacks - especially in a time like ours, when materialism is not only rampant and ascendant but is fast becoming the only game in town.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Time, Game, Parent

My habit would have been to veer towards the dark - to prove I was something; edgy, or maybe to prove that I was cognisant of the dark side. Now, with age and confidence, I can say, yeah, that's true, but I am cognisant of the fact that people can do things well. And can be more loving than you expect.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Age, Confidence, I Am

Character is that sum total of moments we can't explain.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Character, Moments, Explain

There might be a different model for a literary community that's quicker, more real-time, and involves more spontaneity.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Community, Different, More

It's funny with fiction - once you cut something, it hasn't happened anymore.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Funny, You, Something

A John Updike is a once-in-a-generation phenomenon, if that generation is lucky: so comfortable in so many genres, the same lively, generous intelligence suffusing all he did.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Intelligence, Generation

We have that illusion that we are 'deciding' what to make a character do, in order to 'convey our message' or something like that. But, at least in my experience, you are often more like a river-rafting guide who's been paid a bonus to purposely steer your clients into the roughest possible water.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Experience, Character, Water

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).George Saunders

0 likes view quote Life, Myself, Cool

Sometimes I think fiction exists to model the way God might think of us, if God had the time and inclination to do so.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Time, God, Think

When I write I know that I'm going to have to produce 40 percent more than I need.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Know, Need, Percent

I'm always aware of writing around things I can't do, and I've come to think that that's actually what 'style' is - an avoidance of your deficiencies.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Style, Writing, Think

That for me was the big turning point in my artistic life, when my wife and I had our kids. The world got infused with morality again. Every person in the world should theoretically be loved as much as I love my daughters.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Life, Love, Wife

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.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Death, Myself, Believe

Early on, a story's meaning and rationale seem pretty obvious, but then, as I write it, I realize that I know the meaning/rationale too well, which means that the reader will also know it - and so things have to be ramped up.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Meaning, Story, Know

I've had the thought that a person's 'artistic vision' is really just the cumulative combination of whatever particular stances he has sincerely occupied during his creative life - even if some of those might appear contradictory.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Life, Vision, Creative

I could actually care less about the poor. We have some living near us, and pee-yew. They are always coming and going to their three or four jobs at all hours of the day and night. Annoying!George Saunders

0 likes view quote Day, Night, Living

That seems to be the definition of 'novel' for me: a story that hasn't yet discovered a way to be brief.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Me, Story, Way

I turned 54 this year and I find myself feeling like I'm in a bit of a race to get down on paper the way I really feel about life - or the way it has presented to me. And because it has presented to me very beautifully, this is hard. It is technically very hard to show positive manifestations.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Life, Positive, Myself

And I have finally realized that, you know, it's not a given that my lifespan will accommodate my writing aspirations. It could be that it would take me 12 more books at six years each to get it - which means I would have to live to be 126. Which I fully intend to do, of course.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Writing, Me, Live

I started out in engineering. I was a geophysical engineer. Throughout the course of my life I've done a lot of strange jobs, and the effect has been to make me think a little more skeptically about our capitalist society.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Life, Society, Engineering

I think in our time, you know, so much of the information we get is pre-polarized. Fiction has a way of reminding us that we actually are very similar in our emotions and our neurology and our desires and our fears, so I think it's a nice way to neutralize that polarization.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Time, Information, Nice

The cool parts - the parts that have won Dubai its reputation as 'the Vegas of the Middle East' or 'the Venice of the Middle East' or 'the Disney World of the Middle East, if Disney World were the size of San Francisco and out in a desert' - have been built in the last ten years.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Cool, World, Reputation

Nostalgia is, 'Hey, remember the other mall that used to be there?'George Saunders

0 likes view quote Remember, Nostalgia, Used

More and more these days what I find myself doing in my stories is making a representation of goodness and a representation of evil and then having those two run at each other full-speed, like a couple of PeeWee football players, to see what happens. Who stays standing? Whose helmet goes flying off?George Saunders

0 likes view quote Myself, Evil, Football

I think fiction isn't so good at being for or against things in general - the rhetorical argument a short story can make is only actualized by the accretion of particular details, and the specificity of these details renders whatever conclusions the story reaches invalid for wider application.George Saunders

0 likes view quote Good, Short, Details
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