Saturday, December 10, 2011

THE TENTH OF DECEMBER: WRITER GEORGE SAUNDERS

GEORGE SAUNDERS

“They were sorry, they were saying with their bodies, they were accepting each other back, and that feeling, that feeling of being accepted back again and again, of someone’s affection for you always expanding to encompass whatever new flawed thing had just manifested in you, that was the deepest, dearest thing he’d ever—“

--George Saunders, “The Tenth of December” (from the Oct. 31, 2011 New Yorker)


The stories of George Saunders 
almost always chart a hero's journey, undertaken by a middle-America protagonist as conflicted, clueless, lost and broken as you or me. They also almost always have a life-or-death sacrifice in the middle of them. 

"The Tenth of December" is a kind of wacky Holy Family story. There's a Mary figure (Saunders often features valiant, deeply flawed mothers), a child Christ figure, and a stepfather/Joseph figure. 

The link to the story has an accompanying interview.

 I once wrote Saunders a somewhat insanely long fan letter re "The End of FIRPO in the World." And he wrote back.




2 comments:

  1. The "interview" jarred my mind several times....
    particularly THIS line:
    "It’s funny with fiction—once you cut something, it hasn’t happened anymore. So I don’t know how his death will go."
    ~~~ George Saunders in New Yorker interview

    Memory fades if it was C.S. Lewis or Frederich Buechner who wrote on our lives produced by the author, GOD, outside the dimension of Time!

    Though I cannot give due credit, I recall the writing that likely one of the above authors, put down the words :
    "I sat down in my favorite chair, relaxed, and put down my cup of coffee nearby (roughly recalled, folks). Suddenly, there was a knock at the door!"

    At this point, an author may follow-up, set it aside, come back in three weeks and tell us who is at the door, or if they left, or whatever.

    The explanation concerned the Master Writer of all of our lives, being outside the dimension of time.
    HE writes that WE get up off our chair and answer the door. Or, HE writes, "we sat and sipped the coffee, ignoring the door".
    But whatever we do, God is in the mix, for even our heartbeats are at HIS command.
    Though it seems instantaneous to us, the next move by anyone, anywhere, may occur when God ordains that step in three weeks, or now.

    Currently, HE authors 7 billion lives simultaneously!

    God is outside of time and has no constrictions on when HE authors our next move, on the chessboard of life.....until we meet the King!
    Nice link to article, and my memory as well, Heather.

    I am now reading "A Point In Time", "The Search For Redemption In This Life And The Next", by David Horowitz.

    I am amazed at the similarity to "Tenth Of December". On page 19, Horowitz glimpses through the eyes of Marcus Aurelius...who should be remembered in history, but won't, nor will any of us as time continues.
    Aurelius says:
    "Look on times gone by. You will see people marrying, bringing up children; you will see them sick and dying, warring and feasting; doing business and cultivating the ground; you will see them flattering, putting on airs, suspecting, plotting, wishing for some to die, grumbling about the present, loving, heaping up treasure, desiring positions, power. Well then, the life of these people is gone."

    NOW, Horowitz uses Aurelius to conclude THIS:
    "Reading these melancholy words I am struck by the irony of our lives, how the nearer we approach the end of our journeys the less time is left to benefit from what we have learned; how the opportunities we were once offered appear in a light so different from when we could have taken advantage of them; how approaching the end of my days, I cannot imagine how my altered vision would have affected the decisions I made when I was just starting out; or whether knowing what I do now I would have been able to go forward at all"
    ~~~David Horowitz, "A Point In Time"

    I just love the serendipity of "A Point In Time" meeting "Tenth of December",..... a day which I am celebrating in my life right now!
    [Thanks to the Master Author of my life].

    May HE grant each of us many more chapters, especially of Joy!

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  2. Mmm... great post, Heather. I love George Saunders, but hadn't noticed these themes in his work. It's certainly present in his piece previous to Tenth of December in the new yorker, Home.

    Thanks for sharing this.

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