George Saunders, “My Writing Education: A Time Line,” The New Yorker
On a visit to Syracuse, I hear Toby saying goodbye to one of his sons. “Goodbye, dear,” he says.
I never forget this powerful man calling his son “dear.”
All kinds of windows fly open in my mind. It is powerful to call your son “dear,” it is powerful to feel that the world is dear, it is powerful to always strive to see everything as dear. Toby is a powerful man: in his physicality, in his experiences, in his charisma. But all that power has culminated in gentleness. It is as if that is the point of power: to allow one to access the higher registers of gentleness.