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George Saunders Quotes

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George Saunders Quote: “Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.”

Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.

— George Saunders



George Saunders Quote: “Goodbye. I am leaving because I am bored.”

Goodbye. I am leaving because I am bored.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.”

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “When you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you. What I want is to have the reader come out just 6 percent more awake to the world.”

When you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you. What I want is to have the reader come out just 6 percent more awake to the world.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “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.”

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


George Saunders Quote: “If you at least try to do the things that excite you, it will make you a more expansive and present person – you’ll feel, at the end of your life, that at least you took the shot.”

If you at least try to do the things that excite you, it will make you a more expansive and present person – you’ll feel, at the end of your life, that at least you took the shot.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “The scariest thought in the world is that someday I’ll wake up and realize I’ve been sleepwalking through my life: underappreciating the people I love, making the same hurtful mistakes over and over, a slave to neuroses, fear, and the habitual.”

The scariest thought in the world is that someday I’ll wake up and realize I’ve been sleepwalking through my life: underappreciating the people I love, making the same hurtful mistakes over and over, a slave to neuroses, fear, and the habitual.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Humor is what happens when we’re told the truth quicker and more directly than we’re used to.”

Humor is what happens when we’re told the truth quicker and more directly than we’re used to.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Stay alert. The big moral crossroads in your life may not come labeled as such.”

Stay alert. The big moral crossroads in your life may not come labeled as such.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial.”

Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial.

— George Saunders



George Saunders Quote: “Irony is just honesty with the volume cranked up.”

Irony is just honesty with the volume cranked up.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Realism is to fiction what gravity is to walking: a confinement that allows dancing under the right circumstances.”

Realism is to fiction what gravity is to walking: a confinement that allows dancing under the right circumstances.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “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.”

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


George Saunders Quote: “When I write I know that I’m going to have to produce 40 percent more than I need.”

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

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “If you haven’t read you don’t have the voice. The lack of voice eliminates experience.”

If you haven’t read you don’t have the voice. The lack of voice eliminates experience.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “My heart goes out to him. Sort of. Because empathy depends on how you’ve spent your day.”

My heart goes out to him. Sort of. Because empathy depends on how you’ve spent your day.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “It was that impossible thing: happiness that does not wilt to reveal the thin shoots of some new desire rising from within it.”

It was that impossible thing: happiness that does not wilt to reveal the thin shoots of some new desire rising from within it.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “There comes that phase in life when, tired of losing, you decide to stop losing, then continue losing. Then you decide to really stop losing, and continue losing. The losing goes on and on so long you begin to watch with curiosity, wondering how low you can go.”

There comes that phase in life when, tired of losing, you decide to stop losing, then continue losing. Then you decide to really stop losing, and continue losing. The losing goes on and on so long you begin to watch with curiosity, wondering how low you can go.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Anyone can be shamed, but feeling guilt requires empathy within.”

Anyone can be shamed, but feeling guilt requires empathy within.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “We try, we fail, we posture, we aspire, we pontificate – and then we age, shrink, die, and vanish.”

We try, we fail, we posture, we aspire, we pontificate – and then we age, shrink, die, and vanish.

— George Saunders



George Saunders Quote: “Nostalgia is, ‘Hey, remember the other mall that used to be there?’”

Nostalgia is, ‘Hey, remember the other mall that used to be there?’

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “The contours of the coming disaster expanded to include the deaths of all present.”

The contours of the coming disaster expanded to include the deaths of all present.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Success is like a mountain in front of you that keeps growing. If you’re not careful, it will take up your whole life.”

Success is like a mountain in front of you that keeps growing. If you’re not careful, it will take up your whole life.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “It’s a big world, and I really like it.”

It’s a big world, and I really like it.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “What once were two, are one.”

What once were two, are one.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “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.”

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


George Saunders Quote: “My stories, I can understand them as a little toy that you wind up and you put it on the floor and it just goes under the coach. That I get. Beyond that, I’m a little lost.”

My stories, I can understand them as a little toy that you wind up and you put it on the floor and it just goes under the coach. That I get. Beyond that, I’m a little lost.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Suddenly absurdism wasn’t an intellectual abstraction, it was actually realism. You could see the way that wealth was begetting wealth, wealth was begetting comfort – and that the cumulative effect of an absence of wealth was the erosion of grace.”

Suddenly absurdism wasn’t an intellectual abstraction, it was actually realism. You could see the way that wealth was begetting wealth, wealth was begetting comfort – and that the cumulative effect of an absence of wealth was the erosion of grace.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “The generalizing writer is like the passionate drunk, stumbling into your house mumbling: I know I’m not being clear, exactly, but don’t you kind of feel what I’m feeling?”

The generalizing writer is like the passionate drunk, stumbling into your house mumbling: I know I’m not being clear, exactly, but don’t you kind of feel what I’m feeling?

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Life is short, very short, and what are we doing here if not trying to become more generous and loving?”

Life is short, very short, and what are we doing here if not trying to become more generous and loving?

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Every step was a victory. He had to remember that.”

Every step was a victory. He had to remember that.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Back in 1992, I had my first story accepted by ‘The New Yorker.’”

Back in 1992, I had my first story accepted by ‘The New Yorker.’

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Whatever you love, that will be an influence. It just will. So in effect the young writer’s job is: go out and find some stuff to love.”

Whatever you love, that will be an influence. It just will. So in effect the young writer’s job is: go out and find some stuff to love.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “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.”

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


George Saunders Quote: “On one level, I am a total softie, sort of depressed and afraid of losing the people I love or failing them. To disguise that, there’s all this harsh, poop-centric, external swagger, full of nastiness. I’m a cloaking device.”

On one level, I am a total softie, sort of depressed and afraid of losing the people I love or failing them. To disguise that, there’s all this harsh, poop-centric, external swagger, full of nastiness. I’m a cloaking device.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “The most hopeful thing in the stories, I hope, is wit. I make it up. If I make up a world in which we’re ruled by big talking turds, it doesn’t mean that we are. So you shouldn’t feel depressed...”

The most hopeful thing in the stories, I hope, is wit. I make it up. If I make up a world in which we’re ruled by big talking turds, it doesn’t mean that we are. So you shouldn’t feel depressed...

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Err in the direction of kindness.”

Err in the direction of kindness.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it:.”

So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it:.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Twitter is a deliberate abstention. Somehow I hate the idea of there always being, in the back of my mind, this little voice saying: ‘Oh, I should tweet about this.’”

Twitter is a deliberate abstention. Somehow I hate the idea of there always being, in the back of my mind, this little voice saying: ‘Oh, I should tweet about this.’

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “If I’m writing a story and you’re reading it, or vice versa, you took time out of your day to pick up my book. I think the one thing that will kill that relationship is if you feel me condescending to you in the process.”

If I’m writing a story and you’re reading it, or vice versa, you took time out of your day to pick up my book. I think the one thing that will kill that relationship is if you feel me condescending to you in the process.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Whenever you talk about writing I think you have to remember that it all has a big question mark over it – every word has a big question mark over it.”

Whenever you talk about writing I think you have to remember that it all has a big question mark over it – every word has a big question mark over it.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “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.”

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


George Saunders Quote: “When I’m explaining something to you, if I’m being long-winded, and twisty in a non-productive way, I could make you feel vaguely insulted. And you’d have a right to be.”

When I’m explaining something to you, if I’m being long-winded, and twisty in a non-productive way, I could make you feel vaguely insulted. And you’d have a right to be.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Chekhov – shall I be blunt? – is the greatest short story writer who ever lived.”

Chekhov – shall I be blunt? – is the greatest short story writer who ever lived.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “I think it was a big revelation to me earlier in my life that people who appear to be evil are actually not. In other words, nobody wakes up in the morning and says, “Yuck, yuck, yuck, I’m gonna be evil.””

I think it was a big revelation to me earlier in my life that people who appear to be evil are actually not. In other words, nobody wakes up in the morning and says, “Yuck, yuck, yuck, I’m gonna be evil.”

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “Success makes opportunities and so many of those “opportunities” are actually exemptions – from hardship, from unfriendliness, from struggle.”

Success makes opportunities and so many of those “opportunities” are actually exemptions – from hardship, from unfriendliness, from struggle.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “So I may not have had a gothic childhood, but childhood makes its own gothicity.”

So I may not have had a gothic childhood, but childhood makes its own gothicity.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “What a powerful thing to know: That one’s own desires are mappable onto strangers; that what one finds in oneself will most certainly be found in The Other.”

What a powerful thing to know: That one’s own desires are mappable onto strangers; that what one finds in oneself will most certainly be found in The Other.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “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 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.

— George Saunders


George Saunders Quote: “I was a straight arrow, a control freak. I didn’t do drugs or drink, and this was the ’70s. I didn’t like the loss of control. Which isn’t exactly right, because I didn’t know what happened when you did drugs.”

I was a straight arrow, a control freak. I didn’t do drugs or drink, and this was the ’70s. I didn’t like the loss of control. Which isn’t exactly right, because I didn’t know what happened when you did drugs.

— George Saunders

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