The stories we love create us. This is even truer for writers, whose words exist in relation to their literary lineage. Like Nabokov, I can’t fathom the value of writing something that hasn’t actually “happened” or existed in some shape or another. One can despise metaphysics but still acknowledge that incredible stories become events in our lives. They become things that happened to us. I remember the places (airport bars, park benches, a tree in the yard, etc.) I sat when first meeting each of these stories. I cannot separate the reading from the being-alive in that moment. To drag this logic to its appropriate end, the selected fictions persist asevents in my life, things which took place, worlds that continued to exist long after the reading ended. They remain my tutors, my interlocutors, my imagined subjects, my partners in the crime of imagining. Everything I know about writing comes from having lived in them.

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