I sat in a café in Palo Alto (I think it was The Plantation, just off El Camino), more than thirty years ago, and leafed through my newly bought copy of The Art of Fiction by John Gardner. It was a captivating and beautifully written book sub-titled Notes on Craft for Young Writers. At the time I was young but I was not a writer. Now I’m old and I am a writer (of sorts) and somewhere along the way I lost my copy of the book. It should be a trivial matter to re-buy it as an e-book. But it is not. The only electronic version on the planet seems to come from Barnes & Noble but–being in Australia–I cannot buy it. Does this strike you as odd? If I can publish a book across the globe from my shed, why can’t the big publishers do the same? It is not as if the e-book does not exist.
The phrase that resonates from all those years ago is fictional dream. I’d like to go back and check it. And re-read the book, since I remember being very impressed. Perhaps some of the wisdom rubbed off. I don’t know.
I also read Grendel. Sparse and luminous. Get it if you can.