Reading a book on craft, in which the author said writers love words the way carpenters love wood and naturalists love fauna— the texture, the sound, the rhythm and sometimes, but not always, the sense. That idea filled me with hope. Maybe I am a writer, because I have a little-kid enthusiasm for words, an overweening enthusiasm: indolent, I say to myself, over and over, after hearing about Barbara’s cancer, indolent, seeing lazy predators, sunning on a rock, sullen adolescents. I am driven to sharpen and soften and slice the passages I read, even when I’m reading instruction manuals or cookbooks, loving to touch and fiddle with words as much as some people like to garden or cook. A bad day can be entirely improved by working with somebody on their writing. It never once occurred to me that this might be a clue. All these years looking for proof that I am a writer and not finding it: you are a writer if you write every day. You are a writer if you can’t stop yourself from writing, if stories crowd your head, desperate to get out. You are a writer if you have something important to say. Nope. Nope. Nope. But words. Oh yeah. I definitely got that.