Writing books is indeed a gambler’s trade because it’s one of hope against probability: the belief someone somewhere sometime might choose to spend money on your words rather than on a nice bottle of Cabernet or on a couple of lottery tickets. What’s more, perhaps vanity oversteps itself when writers gather their stories into collections, a thing so literary I offer it with considerable diffidence. Nevertheless, I remind myself of the old journalistic adage: No guts, no story. Besides, experience makes me confident it’s unlikely you will have come upon more than, at the most, a couple of these pieces because many of them surely went to ignite barbecue briquettes or stuff parcels before you could see them. One advantage books have over a newspaper or magazine is that it’s harder to wrap yesterday’s fish with them.
—William Least Heat-Moon, Here, There, Elsewhere