Lit Lesson #9: The Power of Destabilization

George Saunders is on the following two podcasts:  Literary Arts and First Draft. This man is a Master Teacher and I hope all the students of the Studio’s take a moment to listen to what he has to say about 1) Being an artist (which you are. We all are.), and 2) process.

“Your job as a writer is to always destabilize your own static understanding of your own story,” Saunders says. “If you think you know where it’s going your reader already knows it too. So, almost anything in craft is seen as a way of undercutting your own too certain understanding of your own piece.”

Here are a few more quotes that I simply adored:



The writer is one who, embarking upon a task, does not know what to do. ~ Donald Barthelme

If you set out to write a poem about two dogs f$*#ing, and you write a poem about two dogs f$*#ing, then you wrote a poem about two dogs f$*#ing. ~ Gerald Stern

No worthy problem is ever solved in the plane of its original conception. ~Albert Einstein

Up until listening to this teaching, I had a very specific way of thinking and teaching. Listening to Saunders will change the way I do both. He is on to something here, about embracing the reality that you are an artist. First. Not last. Art doesn’t come from the head, it comes from the heart. Think about it.

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