Sometime in 1953, I knew with unusual certainty what I intended to do with my life. I would become a writer.
By the time I was twenty-five, I had published over fifty books. Most of these bore pen names, and for a time I resisted acknowledging my early pseudonymous work. Then, in one astonishing and feverish week in 1994, I recalled those early years in fifty thousand words of memoir.
A publisher contracted to bring out my memoir once I'd completed it. Instead I put it on a shelf and never looked at it again. Early in 2020, I had a fresh look at A Writer Prepares. By the time I was ready to stop, I'd written about my life as a writer well into 1966, when I'd completed The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep.
A Writer Prepares, an examination of the first quarter century of one writer's life, is arguably the work of two writers. There's the middle-aged fellow who wrote about half of it at a blistering pace in 1994, and there's the octogenarian who finished the job another quarter century later. The older fellow brought less raw energy to the task, and his memory is a long way from infallible, but one can only hope he's offset these losses with a slight edge in judgment, in perspective, in maturity.