I think of my friend often when I listen to writers talk about their latest idea for a new book. Every writer is a visionary in their own way. Our stories, like my friend's schools, begin in a place where only we can see them. It is so exciting, it is so life-affirming, to perceive something tangibly before it exists. At such times we are in touch with life's complete creative potential. It is as if we can perceive, not just the apple tree, but also all the apples it will produce.
My infatuation with Beatrix Potter began not long after my first child was born, when we received a gift set of her "little books": twenty-three enticing hardcovers each no bigger than my hand, in their own little box-bookshelf.
I fear that I'm already catching glimpses of what that might be, of the world after me, an American world that I would never have wanted to turn over to my own children or grandchildren, or anyone else's.