Almost nobody can tell you the real difference between 3:36 and 3:39. Almost nobody understands that there’s something in there, something important and significant, just waiting to be released out of that space between the six and the nine. Put it this way: if you ever wanted to cross over that gap, if you ever wanted to see what it was like on the other side, you would need to change your entire life and get rid of almost everything else. You have to make choices: you can’t run and be an astronaut. Can’t run and have a full-time job. Can’t run and have a girlfriend who doesn’t run. When I stopped going to church or coming home for holidays, my mother used to worry that I was losing my balance, but I never met a balanced guy who ever got anything done. There’s nothing new about this stuff. You have to sign the same deal if you want to be good – I mean truly good – at anything.
– “Miracle Mile,” Alexander MacLeod
Animal Person, the new collection of stories from Alexander MacLeod, is out April 5 from McClelland & Stewart. Which makes this as good a time as any to revisit MacLeod’s first collection, published in 2010 by Biblioasis, and still one of the finest books of short fiction to appear so far in the 21st century.