Jean Thompson’s “Wilderness” came to us through One Story reader Jason Watt, who once studied with Jean, and has been talking about her incredible skills and pursuing her for a story for a while. When “Wilderness” finally was passed to me, I brought it on the subway, where I do most of my reading. Well, I not only missed one–I missed two stops before realizing the F train had taken me way past my home. This seemed appropriate, since Anna’s narrative begins and ends on a train. In any case, I knew this story was for One Story. It’s very difficult, I think, to use letters properly in a short story, without distracting from the action or forward momentum of the piece. Somehow, Ted’s letters in “Wilderness,” even though they do not touch on the current action of Anna’s Thanksgiving trip to visit Lynn, weave their way through the emotional underpinnings of the story, so that when Anna comes to her conclusion, at the end, it feels completely on target. This story is beautifully crafted, and hits all the complicated feelings of trying to connect in middle age, whether in a marriage, a friendship, with children, or with lovers. So slip this story into your beach bag, read Jean Thompson’s Q&A, and then visit her website to read more about her work. It’s an honor to publish this National Book Award finalist and distinguished advocate for the short story.