Toby has the grad students over to watch A Night at the Opera. Mostly I watch Toby, with his family. He clearly adores them, takes visible pleasure in them, dotes on them. I have always thought great writers had to be dysfunctional and difficult, incapable of truly loving anything, too insane and unpredictable and tortured to cherish anyone, or honor them, or find them beloved.
Wow, I think, huh.
When my first book was published, I emailed all of my writing teachers just to tell them and say thank you. I remember lessons and advice from all of them. Every semester, I hope to have that effect on at least one of my students. The kind of devotion and respect that Saunders writes about here—I don’t know that I’ve ever even dreamed it was possible to inspire it in a student. But now, after reading this—maybe.