"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."
"Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards."George Saunders on Soren Kierkegaard
"The only source of knowledge is experience."George Saunders on Albert Einstein
"Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn."George Saunders on C. S. Lewis
"Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes."George Saunders on Oscar Wilde
"A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way."George Saunders on Mark Twain
"We try, we fail, we posture, we aspire, we pontificate - and then we age, shrink, die, and vanish."
"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."
"I still believe that capitalism is too harsh and I believe that, even within that, there is a lot of satisfaction and beauty if you happen to be one of the lucky ones, although that doesn't eradicate the reality of the suffering. It's all true at once, kind of humming and sublime."
"I tend to foster drama via bleakness. If I want the reader to feel sympathy for a character, I cleave the character in half, on his birthday. And then it starts raining. And he's made of sugar."
"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)."