A Sportswriter Discusses Mystery

Since for me, mystery is the crucial part, and in fact, the only thing I find to have value at this stage in my life—midway around the track.

Mystery is the attractive condition a thing (an object, an action, a person) possesses which you know a little about but don’t know about completely. It is the twiney promise of unknown things (effects, inter workings, suspicions) which you must be wise enough to explore not too deeply, for fear you will dead-end in nothing but facts.

ClevelandA typical mystery would be traveling to Cleveland, a town you have never liked, meeting a beautiful girl, going for a lobster dinner during which you talk about an island off of Maine where you have both been with former lovers and had terrific times, and which talking about now revivifies so much you run upstairs and woggle the bejesus out of each other. Next morning all is well. You fly off to another city, forget about the girl. But you also feel differently about Cleveland for the rest of your life, but can’t exactly remember why.

The Sportswriter by Richard Ford, Volume 1 of the Bascombe trilogy.