Hey hey hey! How’s it going? Today is the sixth day, second week of the Writing 101 course organized by WordPress. And today’s challenge is about people. Yes, you might have guessed that with the photo above. No, this has not turned into an entertainment blog. You’re still on the right blog. I just wanted to put an interesting face beside an interesting book. It’s not necessary because the book is very, very interesting in itself. Please stop me from explaining too much, just indulge me in this little guilty pleasure.
Here we go:
Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?
Today, write a post focusing on one — or more — of the people that have recently entered your life, and tell us how your narratives intersected. It can be your new partner, your newborn child, or the friendly barista whose real story you’d love to learn (or imagine), or any other person you’ve met for the first time in the past year.
Today’s twist: Turn your post into a character study.
I’m going to twist this challenge further: Who’s the most interesting author whom I’ve read this year?
I didn’t have a hard time answering this: it’s George Saunders. In 2013, I’ve heard a lot about him. Some of my bookish friends read his most recent collection of short stories and gave it dazzling ratings. Other friends read his other collections and still, the ratings are dazzling. By the end of the year, Tenth of December was making the rounds of the Best of 2013 lists. March came and he won the inaugural Folio Prize. This prompted me to get a copy of the book and create a group at Goodreads dedicated to reading all the winners of The Folio Prize.
So who is George Saunders? He’s a scruffy short story writer (he’s still working on that novel) born in Texas. Before that, he was an engineer and a technical writer (!). He’s in his middle 50s, which is still quite young considering the accolades that he has already received for his works.
Reading his short stories, particularly the ones included in Tenth of December, I get the feeling that he’s a funny man. Indeed, he is. He is included in one of those Flavorwire lists as one of the ten funniest living authors (with David Sedaris and Junot Díaz). If I am not mistaken, he’s also included in a list of good-looking authors (I don’t remember where that list is from). Now it makes sense to take a photo of his book beside a printout photo of Dane DeHaan.
I love how Saunders writes the interjections of his characters (Oh wow. Gosh.). The staccato gushes depict genuine surprise. I also love the sci-fi elements that are present in some of his stories (reminder to self: write a proper review of Tenth of December soon). It would be interesting to be a part of his creative writing class at Syracuse University. He says Kurt Vonnegut inspired his work. Dane DeHaan’s favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut. Hmm.
Recently, Saunders gave a graduation speech, which was turned into a book. These graduation speeches could have a genre of their own, right? There’s David Foster Wallace (a friend of his) and Neil Gaiman before him doing these speeches, and these are two of the coolest authors of this generation. Doesn’t this make George Saunders cool? Scratch that. Doesn’t talking about kindness to fresh graduates make George Saunders cool? And interesting?