When I journey, as a writer must, from town to town seizing people by the lapels to persuade them how effortlessly infectious my latest book is, they are too often not so curious about what is in the book. What they want to know is, how did I write it? Maybe they are scheming to run home and write my next one while I'm still out stirring up business. Even so, I feel I should respond.
"I'm not going to tell you," the novelist Donald Barthelme once said to an interviewer who asked him to reveal a certain narrative strategy, "because it's a secret."
"From whom?" asked his interviewer.
"From youm," said Barthelme.
Roy Blount Jr. in today's Washington Post Book World. The rest of it as at least as good. I kept reading random phrases aloud to my husband while he was trying to watch a football game (and also show our kid Christmas music videos on his laptop. So clearly, this was worth taking my life, or at least my domestic tranquility, in my hands.
And then we watched the hamster on the piano eating popcorn. And life got even better, if that were possible.