To all the great Authors, whose feet I follow


I find myself unable to separate my work from my life (is it always so?). This enterprise is fully as much a "How-To" Book (i.e., How To Write a Great Novel) as it is an autobiography. The debate rages - even as I speak - whether one's work or his life poses the greatest difficulty. I find myself somewhere in the middle.

My life had been one of ease, of contentment, of comfortable routine up until the moment I decided to become a Great Author. Then everything changed. Little by little disorder began seeping from I know not where into the dimensions previously established, until by the time my career reached its zenith the distortions had almost visibly shifted the overall pattern. Where once a perfect rhomboid now most evident was a trapezoid. (I, of course, use metaphor here, and elsewhere, to circumscribe reality.)

Am I better off for it, I often wonder. Fame, fortune, the calling forth of genius: all were mine. But was this newfound "me" the real me, is the question. From the depths of my soul it came (where else could it have come from?). But is this deeper "me" any the more me for having had to be raised as if a Lazarus from his grave? This, and many other pertinent matters, I leave to the reader in his infinite wisdom to determine. (For can the wisdom of my good and gentle reader be any less than that of his guide and entertainer?)

You will meet herein the most remarkable array of persons ever to assemble into one rendering - persons of astounding qualities and of sensibilities no less commendable. You will also encounter villains the like of which has never before menaced a hapless Hero - for Hero your Author will most surely be judged to be by all who breathe the fine air of our glorious world. You may well shed a tear, you might laugh, you might tremble in rage or fear; but, in the end, rest assured, you will adjudge yourself most favored by fate to have perused these pages and, in them, this humble story of Your Author's great trials and tribulations.

It is no easier matter to write the Great American Novel than it is to live the Good American Life. But, in your wisdom, you know this. Therefore, having apprised you what wonders - literary, social and vital - to expect, let us begin.

And congratulations on your purchase of this, perhaps the Most Marvelous Book Ever Written.