Like any layabout, I wanted to write but my early efforts were a failure. I don't want to bore anyone with a confession: 'How I became a writer'. I have many debts. The fragments, stories, profiles and travelogues in this book have been “my ideas.” They can be judged by the dates. I have made changes: some to avoid repetition, some to avoid bad prose, some to revise editorial hatchet jobs. The word “story” is intended to alert the reader to the fact that, however closely the narrative may fit the facts, the fictional process has been at work.