God spoke to my father in a dream once. He told my father to take the time to recognize that every human being you come into contact with has as rich an interior life as your own — as full of dreams and fears as you are. My father — a corporate lawyer who dances like Zorba in the kitchen, a man who moos loudly while passing fields of cows, who doesn’t care about appearances, who will debate his side of the argument until he wins and then switch sides to keep it going, who still teaches me how best to make my way in this weird and wonderful world, who’s generous and open and though punched in high school for being a know-it-all has really grown up quite nicely, who’s helped me research my novels and made sure the worlds I’ve built have actual architecture and reason, a man whose moonwalk isn’t half-bad and who’s intellectual curiosity is boundless etc etc etc — he lives that lesson he heard in his dream and passed it onto me. It’s become my profession as a writer to imagine the interior lives of others but it’s also a damn good way to live. And so, sure, maybe now when I should say I’m sorry about that time when he was driving me to high school and we couldn’t agree on the radio and I opened the window and held his briefcase out it, my hostage, saying I’d drop it if we couldn’t come to a compromise. But, hey, we did come to a compromise. I’m thankful. That’s the bottom line. I’m thankful to a guy who taught me gratitude — who at 23, holding his first child, was so filled with joy that he decided everything from then on would be extra. It’s been a wonderful extra.