• You can, in short, lead the life of the mind, which is, despite some appalling frustrations, the happiest life on earth. And one day, in the thick of this, approaching some partial vision, you will (I swear) find yourself on the receiving end of - of all things - an "idea for a story," and you will, God save you, start thinking about writing some fiction of your own. Then you will understand, in what I fancy might be a blinding flash, that all this passionate thinking is what fiction is about, that all those other fiction writers started as you did, and are laborers in the same vineyard.