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This Is Not A George Saunders Story – by Christian Bell

May 26, 2010 2 comments

This Is Not A George Saunders Story

by Christian Bell

This is not a George Saunders story. It’s not that story “Pastoralia” where people are living in a simulated theme park cave. No, it’s just me living in a cave, and I’m nowhere near as clever as George Saunders. You might be here looking for something else, something more profound or even biting satire of absurdism but, nope, just me in a cave.

If you come by, which I don’t recommend, I’ll be sitting there, staring at a dim crackling fire, listening to Nirvana feedback with my makeshift stereo system. Call this my navel gazing. Call this my whatever you want. If you reach the end and say, I like the conceit of this, I like how he uses himself and George Saunders and so on, you’ve missed the point. Remember, this is not a George Saunders story. It’s just me. In a cave.

Now, here’s the part where I complain. I need a vacation or, ideally, a paid sabbatical, but I am not getting one. So, this is how I ended up in the cave. I’m burned out. Like the flickering flame in my fake cave, my spark is dying out. You’ll read this and refer back to the previous paragraph and you might also be tempted to make a Kurt Cobain connection but don’t do that. Just remember, it’s me in a cave. I need time off. I need a new perspective.

Now this is where I clumsily stumble toward an ending. I turn down the audio graffiti of “Endless Nameless,” a pointless reaction akin to turning down the car radio when you see a traffic accident. I look up at the cave wall and notice previously unnoticed writing in paint. Someone has lived in this cave before, it seems, and has written a narrative. It’s a story about people living in a simulated theme park cave.

But remember this is not a George Saunders story. This is just me living in a cave. I need a vacation. Cobain screams, silence, hear I am, hear I am, silent. The squeal of guitar drowns out voice. You might be looking for something else.