Dear Reader,

It’s me again. Here’s a little secret that I wish you wouldn’t bruit about. I’m old. Soon enough I’m going to die. One of many things dogs do for us is that they teach us how to die.

I need to know you’re out there. I write for myself, of course. I think most writers do. We eat our own dog food before we sell it to anybody else. When I write a book, I read that book to myself and then to my friends at least a dozen times. Few strangers will read it once. And so, the book’s primary consumer is me. But after that, there’s you.

I used to be able to imagine what you looked like. I remember when one of my father’s books wasn’t doing as well as expected, he said he could picture the people buying it. He said that a lot of them were tennis shoes.