Turns out last night’s… show? Experience? Whatever it was with that happened last night with George Saunders, it did a number on me. I can’t tell you which number, specifically.
First, the Scottish Rite Temple here in Dallas is pretty amazing. Ornate, odd, and Egyptian. It was a great place to hear a writer who often deals in weirdness.
Second, since Saunders’s book, Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel, is something of a multi-character piece, multiple actors read from the novel. So now, of course, I can’t wait to start reading the book.
But it was the Q&A that blew me away. Saunders was always gracious. He complimented people on their questions and responded to every one thoroughly and without hesitation. And his answers to matters of craft were like a masterclass on storytelling. So many new things to try, I couldn’t wait to get home and get started.
Through it all, Mr. Saunders seemed… delighted. In everything. The questions, the audience’s response, the performance, life… Everything. After the Q&A, Jenn, our friend, Clay, and I went downstairs where Mr. Saunders signed books. The line was long. A couple hundred people, perhaps? We were toward the end. But when we got up to the table, we found Mr. Saunders still in great spirits, still exceedingly grateful, still delighted.
On the way home, I had a slight to moderate epiphany: I’m angry. Like, in general, I’m an angry person. I’m not sure the source of the anger1, but I know it’s there and I know it doesn’t take much for the anger to bubble to the surface. When Mr. Saunders talked about his characters, he said he loved all of them deeply. And I got to thinking about my anger, about how I could never approach many of my antagonists with complete, unconditional love until I let go of some of this anger.
So how do I do that? This, of course, is for both of you readers, but it’s also the question I’m going to ask myself as I travel down life’s highway. Which reminds me, a lot of my anger is the result of traffic and driving and cars. No duh, huh?
Per yesterday’s question: Did Mr. Saunders’s “performance” meet expectations? I should say so.