These Precious Days

Anne Patchett in Harper’s Magazine:

I can tell you where it all started because I remember the moment exactly. It was late and I’d just finished the novel I’d been reading. A few more pages would send me off to sleep, so I went in search of a short story. They aren’t hard to come by around here; my office is made up of piles of books, mostly advance-reader copies that have been sent to me in hopes I’ll write a quote for the jacket. They arrive daily in padded mailers—novels, memoirs, essays, histories—things I never requested and in most cases will never get to. On this summer night in 2017, I picked up a collection called Uncommon Type, by Tom Hanks. It had been languishing in a pile by the dresser for a while, and I’d left it there because of an unarticulated belief that actors should stick to acting. Now for no particular reason I changed my mind. Why shouldn’t Tom Hanks write short stories? Why shouldn’t I read one? Off we went to bed, the book and I, and in doing so put the chain of events into motion. The story has started without my realizing it. The first door opened and I walked through.

But any story that starts will also end. This is the way novelists think: beginning, middle, and end.

In case you haven’t read it, Uncommon Type is a very good book. It would have to be for this story to continue.

More here.