I took this photograph of the author Tobias Wolff at a book signing at the Edinburgh International Book Festival last summer.
I was talking to him and buying one of his books of short stories, and I asked to take his photograph.
I don’t think he was particularly pleased with that, but he put up with it.
Looking back, I would rather have spent the extra few seconds talking to him because he has a singular talent as a writer and he seemed so obviously prickly and ill at ease all the time, even during the talk he gave and during the question and answer.
He seemed most in his stride when reading from his books.
Last summer, with the date for his talk coming up, I grabbed the time to re-read his short stories, which in my opinion ring true in a romantic kind of way.
You may think it strange that I use the word ‘romantic’ because there is shot through his stories a terrible heartfelt blanket of despair and sadness, and perhaps love.
What I mean is that despair, sadness, love – they all share the characteristic of ‘care’ – of caring about the circumstances and the outcome.