So your first collection of essays, We Learn Nothing, is out! That must be exciting.

It’s funny: that’s what everyone says when they hear my book is out. “That must be exciting.” I suppose it is exciting, though I think people forget what “excitement” actually involves, which includes a high proportion of dread.

Reprieve

Fourteen years ago, I was stabbed in the throat. This is kind of a long story and less interesting than it sounds. A lot of people have told me about their own near-death experiences over the years, often in harrowing medical detail, imagining that those details—how many times they rolled the car, how many vertebrae shattered, how many months spent in traction—will somehow convey the subjective psychic force of the experience, the way some people will relate the whole narrative of a dream in a futile attempt to evoke its ambient feeling. Except for the ten or fifteen minutes during which it looked like I was about to die, which I would prefer not to relive, getting stabbed wasn’t even among the worst experiences of my life. In fact it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.