Green coffee beans roast in a revolving white machine on the kitchen counter. Annie Proulx, one of America’s greatest living writers, is upstairs in the shower. She looked startled when she opened the front door and found me there. She was wearing her dressing gown.
An idea for a story had kept her awake for most of the night, and then she had overslept. I wait in the kitchen, and wonder about the transition she has had to make. For nearly 20 years she lived by herself in remote areas of Wyoming, where the landscape and population density resemble those of Outer Mongolia.
I used to visit her there occasionally. Proulx is a tough, flinty, unusual character, and she loved the stark windswept high plains and long horizons, the birds and wildlife, the hard-bitten local characters, the rawness of it all. She immortalised Wyoming in three superb collections of short stories.