…I don’t say “fuck you, goodbye.” If I love you, you’re going to have me forever.
Why do you think that is?
Because people left me when I was little. I never thought it was better to be alone than to be with someone you loved.
In a Ploughshares profile, Ford revealed that a Knopf editor advised him to abandon The Sportswriter after reading the first one hundred fifty pages of the manuscript:
He told me I should put those pages in the drawer and go back to writing what I knew best. I guess he meant the South, or maybe he meant stories set in Montana. Anyway, he was wrong. I spent six months after our conversation fretting and brooding about his “advice,” and not writing. But finally I just said, Well, this is the book Iâ€™ve chosen to write. I donâ€™t actually harbor any bad feelings about that. He had the right to be wrong, and he thought he was giving me good advice. You just can never tell, though, how a young writer will develop.
The novel ultimately was a PEN/Faulkner finalist and a breakthrough book for Ford.