Monday, October 17, 2005
Last But Not In Any Way Least
Is George Saunders. I finally got around to reading CommComm, the story that came out in the New Yorker about two months ago, and it was, well, I dunno, the dude never disappoints me. He’s so f-ing funny and smart, always, but the story takes a turn near the end I completely wasn’t expecting, which I won’t tell you because you should just go read it. I’ve come to be certain that in any Saunders story there’s always going to be a part that just kills me, and as usual he went above and beyond, and frankly, no matter how many interviews I read with him, I just don’t know how he does it, and believe me, it’s not because he doesn’t explain it well, because he’s as clear as anyone can be about his process. In fact, I have the impression that his process bears some similarities to my own, at least to the extent that he often talks about coming to rely on what he knows are his strengths as a writer rather than try to do things he just knows he can’t successfully do. We veer off when he goes and becomes all George-Saundery and creates completely outrageous but still so essentially real characters and places and like, manages to layer it with religion, politics and important-like stuff almost without your even noticing, until you’re done with the story and you’re like, Damn, George Saunders, how the hell did you do that – again? I was still in the middle of the story when I became possessed with the idea that I have to write thank-you letters to all my favorite writers for being such a critical part of why my life is so totally kick-ass. Emphasis on the word “idea”. I haven’t assaulted any of them with my insanity just yet. Well, actually I did once write a long crazy email to Saunders quite a while ago, and he was incredibly kind to write back and say thank you. But you know, what if George Saunders, like, left the house with the coffeepot on, and came home to that nasty smell that happens when the coffee gets all burny and bubbly in the bottom of the pot, and plus his kids are all like, Dad, you forgot to turn the coffee off again, and maybe they’re all grateful he didn’t burn the house down but he’s feeling bad just the same and gets a letter from someone saying how how happy he makes them just to be a living person reading his stories, that would help a little, right?