This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is the first Ann Patchett I have read. Without reservation, I loved it. While reading, I think I may have developed just the tiniest bit of a crush on her, as is often the case, I am almost embarrassed to admit, with many of my favorite authors. But most of her stories/essays read like a deep, intelligent conversation you would have with a brilliant friend, perhaps late at night. Over coffee, maybe. How could I not be enchanted?
If you have ever thought seriously about writing a book, it is hard not to become quickly overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the task. I am not telling you anything you don’t know here, and not judging, at all. I share this truth because I have been there. But if you let your book stop there, inertia wins, and your book never gets written. I have decided to come at the process from the opposite direction, not picturing the work as a whole, but realizing that a book is made out of chapters, each chapter made out of paragraphs, each paragraph made out of sentences, each sentence made out of words. I’m going to start with the words.