Some of my imaginary readers groused to me that the book I might write would take up space reserved on the shelf for their own intimate cri de coeur. They pictured the book I hadn’t yet written elbowing aside the volume they hadn’t yet written.

I understand about envy, and it’s a flu I’ve had often, but don’t let it paralyze you. If you need to write a book then, for God’s sake write it. I’m not the reason you didn’t write your book. Blame your husband. Blame your dog. Blame Stephen King. He’s taken up a lot of space on shelves. As has Joyce Carol Oates.