“Writing the book was a way of taking a breath and saying, “Let’s get back in touch with teaching, and let’s get back in touch with the short story form by going back to the woodshed.” George Saunders in Esquire, on the book he adopted from his own course on Russian short stories.
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Stephen King’s On Writing, which is a very good book. But Saunders’ book is better, and I think at least part of why it’s better is because Saunders teaches writing.
“The problem was the teaching. I liked me coworkers and loved the kids — even the Beavis and Butt-Head types in Living with English could be interesting — but by most Friday afternoons I felt as if I’d spent the week with jumper cables clamped to my brain. If I ever came close to despairing about my future as a writer, it was then.” That’s Stephen King, on teaching.