If there were a list of American writers who, like Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, had come to their callings fully formed, and who were able from tender ages to produce great works of literature, I would not be it. I knew a quarter of a century ago that I was cut out to be a writer; yet I failed to pursue writing as my career. Instead I became a pretty decent teacher, a half-decent chef, an indifferent retailer and a God-awful industrialist. I guess I was gathering raw material. It's taken me fifty-seven years to get down to this writing business in any meaningful fashion. If I were Fitzgerald I'd have been dead thirteen years ago. Hemingway; I'd have a date with a shotgun in four years. All things considered, I'd rather be me.