I just finished reading a phenomenal collection of short stories: The Secret Lives of People in Love by Simon Van Booy. My favorite story, "Snow Falls and Then Disappears," is alone worth the $13.99 paperback price. It's one of those stories that curls up inside you and becomes a part of you.
The stories themselves are beautiful, and the book has an extra gift at the end: a "P.S." section with "insights from the author." This section is a goldmine. I love reading about writers' processes, curiosities, loves, and inspirations. I love reading about writers' journeys to become writers.
Here is a gem from Van Booy's section "History of Stories":
"One of my first assignments as an MFA student was to write a short story for discussion in a workshop. I sat at my desk looking into the shallow woods beyond. And then it began to snow. I began to write.
"After two paragraphs I knew something was different. It felt effortless, but required almost an impossible presence of mind -- a poise, a balance of feeling. I wrote 'Snow Falls and Then Disappears' in a few hours. ...
"When you find your voice, it will be obvious to you. The voice isn't just a choice of words but the sense of rhythm and, perhaps most important, the tone. This is why I could never be the sort of writer who is competitive. Everyone has their own style; no two writers are alike, even if they pretend to be."