I was once the caretaker of an estate in a wooded area of suburban homes that rested at the foot of a state park. The place was in transition from country to city. At dawn before work I would sit on the failing redwood deck that overlooked a pasture that had once been a walnut orchard, drink coffee, and watch the foxes running home to their lairs. One afternoon I heard the reports of a large caliber weapon from the home across the road. Alarmed at the proximity of the reports to the Mormon Temple and the foot path, I made inquiries, learned that the man firing the weapon was the sheriff’s brother. He had taken it upon himself to clear the neighborhood of wildlife. I knew this man, his weaknesses, his failures, had in fact gone to high school with him. We were the two guys in class that smelled of barns and horses. This was the germ of my story “The Call.” My writing is always based upon what I observe. I have tried otherwise but I fail at invention. I find the voice of a character from the voices I hear around me. The characters develop themselves but there is always a history of knowing them already. As I get older, I find I have even more material to mine. When I read the greats, I see they do this too. I don’t pretend to be amongst them, but I do borrow as they do from their surroundings. As Márquez based Macondo on his own Aracataca, I take the struggles of the West, the clash of cities and suburbs and country, the families (mostly my own), the languages, the cultures, and write about them.