top of page

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders

In my journal this morning, I wrote a lot about the split between the Will of Self and the Will of Words. How the Will of Words speaks through me (a self) and how I articulate (read: manifest) my Will of Self through words.

Buy the book: Amazon

Both are autonomous networks that hang at the center of an individual’s life, resolving never to imitate or accommodate each other. And every individual’s Will of Self and Will of Words is unique.

My Will of Self is self-indulgent and passionate. My Will of Words is compassionate and messy. Perhaps this is because the Will of Self recognizes, within its labyrinthine architecture, very acute and impenetrable limitations. The Will of Words, on the other hand, transcends time and space.

Gertrude Stein’s words:

“I like the feeling of words doing as they want to do and as they have to do.”

George Saunders in ‘A Swim in a Pond in the Rain’ talks about this split between art and artist, the written word and the writer… among other things. His writing regards fiction as something transcendent, that penetrates the layers of how one views the world, interprets it, and finally, emulates it.

His words:

“These days, it’s easy to feel that we’ve fallen out of connection with one another and with the earth and with reason and with love. I mean: we have. But to read, to write, is to say that we still believe in, at least, the possibility of connection.”

Excavating down to the beauty, darkness, and universality of 7 Russian short stories, Saunders’ writing forces you to inhabit an intellectual and emotional curiosity for stories, including one’s own, in a completely new manner.

Extending this act of reverie to the understanding of poetry and the nature of language and how we shape reality through its lens. I’d like to think that when Saunders wrote this (read excerpt below) about paying homage to the essence, purpose and layers of Poetry, he also meant Life.

“That’s all poetry is, really: something odd, coming out. Normal speech, overflowed. A failed attempt to do justice to the world. The poet proves that language is inadequate by throwing herself at the fence of language and being bound by it. Poetry is the resultant bulging of the fence.”


bottom of page