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“(Twice this week I have been sent manuscripts of books that remind their editors, according to their covering letters, of my writing. Like a lot of writers, I can’t really stand my own writing, in the same way that I don’t really like my own cooking. And, just as when I go out to eat, I tend not to order my signature dish—an overcooked and overspiced meat-stewy thing containing something inappropriate, like tinned peaches, and a side order of undercooked and flavorless vegetables—I really don’t want to read anything that I could have come up with at my own computer. What I produce on my computer invariably turns out to be an equivalent of the undercooked overcooked stewy thing, no matter how hard I try to follow the recipe, and you really don’t want to eat too much of that. I’d love to be sent a book with an accompanying letter that said, ‘This is nothing like your work. But as a man of taste and discernment, we think you’ll love it anyway.’ That never happens.)”

“April 2004,” in The Polysyllabic Spree (San Francisco, CA: Believer Books, 2004), 66–67.
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