Ann Patchett

Photo: Jerri Patchett and Getty Images

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Dear Ann,

As it turns out, you are very, very small. Think grain-of-sand-on-the-bottom-of-the-Atlantic small. All those things you think are so important now—love, work, art, money—they don't matter. Don't think everything will happen once you finish your first novel. Don't think five pounds or $500 could make all the difference. Be grateful and kind; there is nothing more important than that.
—Ann Patchett, 48, author of State of Wonder