“Basically, my teaching involves just quoting Flannery O’Connor to students, and George Saunders. Just badly paraphrasing them. She has a wonderful essay where she talks about how if you want to say the wooden leg is a wooden leg in “Good Country People.”…She’s talking about her own drafting process, and I think somebody is asking her about how she inserts symbols into her stories, and she says, “If you want to call the wooden leg a symbol, it is that, but it was a wooden leg first.” It had a literal, concrete importance to the story. It arose naturally from the landscape of the story, and there’s nothing “inserted.” It feels absolutely essential to the story’s plot, and then it accretes meaning as the story rolls forward.”