I am not a man of knowledge. What I know is what finds me, not what I pursue. I’m organized in my work — more so, I’d wager, than most. And yet I have no systematic way of learning. In school I was a poor student. But my time there wasn’t wasted, because it was given over entirely to observation. The subjects of that observation included myself, through all kinds of foolishness and mental weather; indeed, I was present even when I tried most not to be, when oblivion called and darkness rimmed my soul. For I was the source of that darkness, just as I am the recipient of what little light I know. I am a dim lamp in a dark room; a candle burning down; and yet the candle smiles, consumed and warmed by what it knows.
What I know will not die with me; what will die will be my way of knowing it, my funny way of arriving at the truth. These lines you read and books I write, if they do survive, will be evidence that I tried. They will show how far I was willing to go, and the limits I placed on my own honesty — my self-made shackles and chains, if you will. And it’s but the rattle of those chains that you hear now. To listen well is to love the silence when I set them down. To love well is to recognize your own.