Sometimes I read one of my stories, maybe one that I wrote thirty years ago, and I think, Now I'd go and do it differently. Or I think I would just alter a phrase that seems to me a little too polished or too sharp or too smart-aleck or something. Or too ironic. Irony was so big then that it got under your skin and you sort of didn't recognize it.
A story is not like a road to follow it's more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you.
I used to feel for years and years and years that I was very remiss not to have written a novel and I would question people who wrote novels and try to find out how they did it and how they had got past page 30. Then, with the approach of old age, I began to just think: Well, lucky I can do anything at all.