'When apple-picking season ended, I got a Job in a packing plant and gravitated towards short stories, which I could read during my break and reflect upon for the remainder of my shift. A good one would take me out of myself and then stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit . . . Once, before leaving on vacation, I copied an entire page from an Alice Munro story and left it in my typewriter, hoping a burglar might come upon it and mistake her words for my own. That an intruder would spend his valuable time reading, that he might be impressed by the description of a crooked face, was something I did not question, as I believed, and still do, that stories can save you'.