265 Comments

Does it help if I have never heard of George Sanders?

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I had never heard of him either, until fiction writers on Substack kept mentioning him. I subscribed for quite a while, but I didn't find his newsletter interesting, it was a burden sitting in my inbox, like being expected to eat broccoli. (I've unsubscribed to far more famous writers than Sanders for the same reason.) 😁

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Well, now I don’t feel like such a loser!

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No you're not. 😁

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I liked that ‘burden sitting in the inbox’! I’ve never heard of him either, but I do need to sort out my inbox to find the writers I really want to read.

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Follow me , my friend , I only have 500 subscribers, I suffer from asthma and I don’t even have an American Passport. Some will claim I’m Jealous-Proof🐰

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Others claim you're just high as fuck.

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Man, now you’re going to be jealous of me for being a pothead?😱

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Yes! Pot makes me anxious. Booze make me depressed.

All my vices are leaving me, you lucky bastard.

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Damn, you win. I won’t take it personally if you’ll unsubscribe ( but I will be utterly offended tif you didn’t subscribe in the first place.

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For anyone who doesn't know already, "Fly Already" by this guy, Etgar Keret, is an absolute banger.

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Love your stories! From one of the 500.

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It hasn't stopped anyone else.

Thanks, Miles.

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founding

FWIW I would rather read your something or even your nothing than almost any other writer, except of course Murakami. (I would read you with my right eye and him with my left. And desperately try to avoid stereoscopy…)

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When I was a small boy in ultra-Orthodox yeshiva, they told me that so great was Rashi, the ancient Torah commentator, that he could write two completely different things at the same time, one with his left hand and one with his right. Today we know that's not "greatness," it's "schizophrenia."

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Aug 19, 2023·edited Aug 19, 2023

Schizophrenia beats dining alone. (Tennessee Williams.)

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Oscar Levant? That's what the interwebz tells me, anyway.

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Aug 23, 2023·edited Aug 23, 2023

Maybe. Attribution is a cranky art form. Most of the quotes I love came from two books I found in a library decades back: The 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, and its companion, The Other 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, both compiled by Robert Byrne. I should seek them out again. (My badness: I just looked him up and there are more volumes, many more!) Many of the best ones were by Oscar Wilde, of course, and his twin sidekicks, Mark Twain and Woody Allen.

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The internet says Oscar Levant said it. But perhaps Tennessee Williams lived it. (Certainly Truman Capote did, some of the time.)

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That would be multiple personalities, not schizophrenia. A person with schizophrenia would only imagine they'd written two stories.

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Agreed. But am I only imagining that I am seventeen different conflicting and conflicted people?

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Depends whether you own a bunch of different colored hats or just a tin foil color.

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A bunch of differently textured sepia-toned hiking boots, all with sequentially warmed-up yet worn down souls.

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Oh, a new element, you walk on souls? Are they friendly souls?

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Cathartic! I cried. George gives me the same feels. He’s just so fucking lovely and deserving. Thanks for sharing your auto-exorcism.

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author

As well you should have. Congrats!

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i died at the Panera reveal lmao

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Hahhahahahah wow I love this (and find it so relatable).

I have a lot of friends from my MFA who are independently wealthy and have so much time to write and I love them but also have some fuck-you feelings.

Also, as a millennial, anytime someone buys a house and shares the “milestone” on social media, I have more fuck-you feelings.

I feel small and also cleansed admitting this.

anyway this is fantastic and laughing helps!

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Your post made me laugh multiple times. I've read a little George Saunders and I'm positive he never made me laugh. So, you win.

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Take THAT, National Book Award!

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I think Hemingway said something like, “A writers job is to sit at the typewriter and bleed.” Comes pretty close to your Lego man. And I’ve got 1 subscriber, so there’s that. And yeah, I don’t know who George Saunders is either.

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Me, too. Is your subscriber also your parole officer? Or your mom?

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George Saunders? What about Shalom Auslander? My god, if we could all be as smart and funny as him. Forget the cabin, he obviously doesn’t need it.

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I bloody love Substack. Plus I didn't know what Panera Bread was but now I do. I thank you.

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“... I believe comedy possesses an intrinsic wisdom and honesty that tragedy does not, and I think our respect for the dutifully serious over the defiantly carnival is both a reflection and cause of deeper societal problem. “

Whew boy... THAT part. This was great

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I mean, I get it. I used to be a songwriter. I used to LOVE being a songwriter. Then I fell in love with Lennon/McCartney (I mean, I liked/loved/had mad respect for them always, but this was full-on obsessive passionate LOVE) and I haven't written a fucking song since.

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There's an old Zen saying, something to the effect that to master something you have to first lose respect for it. And it's true. And it kinda sucks. I think it's about finding a balance between admiration (good) and adoration (not good). I'll be getting into more of this here on TFP.

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Oh tbf, I'm not actually complaining. I miss the songwriter, but I wouldn't trade the adoration... more like swoony love and passion, reallly... for anything in the world. My love affair with John and Paul has changed my life in ways that take my breath away. It's brought me work I love more than any work I've ever done in my life, true passion for a vocation that I've longed for and had almost given up finding.

I am hopeful that I can find a way to get back to songwriting without being so intimidated by L/M that I'm blocked in that particular way. But if the price were to lose respect for them, that wouldn't be a price I'd ever want to pay for any reason!

It's a journey.... (and thank you for the reply!)

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I am happy for you, George Saunders! I am enthusiastic, for the first time in the history of digital platforms, that a person who “cannot even pretend to be angry”, enjoys tens of thousands of subscribers! After the disaster of facebook, after the blandness of twitter, does not Substack give hope to be a place to share thoughts, not throw punches? Let’s not allow envy and vitriol seep in here.

P.S.

A cabin in the woods may bring gloom connotations, but let's look at the person inside

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True, Jacek - that's why though I've never so much as tweeted or Insta-ed or anything else in my life, I chose Substack as a place to dive in. I think (hope) that most people understand that this isn't about George Saunders, but about me, and maybe all of us. All we can do is be honest about ourselves. It's small, but it's everything.

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Maybe I took the words "commonly considered offensive" too seriously; now I see how George got the gist of your message ("I will write about what bad happens to me").

I have almost no subscribers, and almost nobody reads me. But we write not for the statistics, but because of our innate need. Maybe it will take a couple of years of effort to be noticed at all?

Write what you think, and what you feel, don't hurt anyone, and give people time to discover you. Try to be happy for other people's successes (they say it is the best way to be happy yourself.)

Good luck, and don't feel depressed!

P.S. I've never been on facebook, twitter or insta, and I am happy with that.

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Well, I’m now subscribed to your Substack, and I’m not subscribed to George Saunders’ or Jeff Tweedy’s. And if it makes you feel better, you have many more subscribers than I do. (But I won’t unsubscribe... or maybe I will... and then resubscribe out of guilt.)

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