The first time I brought a date over she said: what’s with your dad and that pole? and I sat there blinking.
—- George Saunders, Sticks
George Saunders is a writer that amazes me. If I could write like any one person I would want to write like him (though I have said the same thing about Raymond Carver… so, well, maybe it’s a tie).
I’ve written about stories by Saunders before:
- Sea Oak
- Tenth Of December (with the eponymous story, plus Puppy, plus the amazing The Semplica-Girl Diaries)
- A Lack of Order in the Floating Object Room
Today’s short story is a one minute piece of flash fiction that contains an entire life full of frustration and regret. It’s funny and sad, in the terrible way that only funny things can be so sad. It’s called Sticks.
You can read it here: Sticks, by George Saunders
In the introduction to the published version in “Story” magazine he explains how he developed the idea for the story (if you follow my link above you can find out for yourself). That short explanation is as amazing as the fiction itself. We all see things along the road, especially along our commute to work, that become part of our lives so intimately that they disappear. Still, your imagination is filled with these things and the stories they generate. Only a genius like George Saunders can imagine something so poignant and unforgettable, so buoyant and unforgivable.