How to create literature by George Saunders

George Saunders is an author — his books include Tenth of December (a Finalist for the National Book Award) and Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the 2017 Man Booker Prize — and a professor in the creative writing program at Syracuse University. He writes a Substack newsletter called Story Club, and this comes from one of his responses to a would-be author’s letter:

“Even a person raised alone, fed by a machine, out in a cave somewhere, exists in this atmosphere of pressure – because that pressure is intrinsic to the human mind.  The mind makes the pressure, the tension, the longing, the hope. We want this thing, we get it…and then we want more.  We always feel slightly off, somehow. We find ourselves at peace but not the right kind of peace. And so on. This is what drama is, really: it comes out of the truth that nothing is ever enough for us, that every human situation (even a quiet one, even a happy one, even a deeply contented one) always teeters on the brink of change, because of the restlessness of the mind. And that right there is the stuff of literature.” 

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