A Resonant Place

Authors fascinate me. How they write, how they process their ideas, how they think about what they do, it all intrigues me no end, and I love to hear them talk about it. Years ago, way back in 2009, Ana and I had the chance to hear Dennis Lehane (author of Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone). He spoke at a library nearby, read a bit from his latest release (it was The Given Day), talk about his process, and answer questions from the group. It was illuminating, and I wrote about the experience here. A few years later, we had the chance to do the same with another of our favorite mystery writers, Tana French, and just as with Lehane, I came away with some delicious insights. (Which I wrote about here.) Then, last year, I had an extraordinary (and highly unexpected) opportunity to meet my #1 favorite living author, Kate Atkinson, an event so striking that it still reverberates. Because I’d had no idea she would be there until the moment I walked into the room — although I had waked up that morning (my birthday, as it happened) thinking about her book. (You can read more about that one here.) Meeting the first two authors inspired me about the process of writing. Meeting the third inspired me about the process of living. With Atkinson, the circumstances — you might say, the magical realism — of our encounter presented me with a stunning confirmation of the fact that the universe is always listening, and is perfectly capable of responding in the most breathtaking ways. It showed me,...