When I picked up John McPhee’s Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process, I was a little surprised to hear that the old man was still plying his trade.1 Not being a regular New Yorker reader, I hadn’t seen his byline for quite some time. For me, his name is closely associated with my teenage years, the 1970s, when everybody’s parents had a copy of Oranges, in its attractively contemporary fsg jacket, jazzing up their coffee table, and everybody’s hippie big brothers and sisters were reading, or pretending to read, Coming into the Country. I also remembered with pleasure his brilliant


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