Having written for years doesn’t mean I think I’ve even begun to move and live and work in a realm beyond my limited thinking about the art — if it is indeed an art, and not simply one more thing a human can do to occupy himself while he wonders at the limits of his limitless existence. For instance, a moment ago I finished eating seven almonds, seven being a spontaneously deliberate choice, not because I think the number is lucky, but because when I was shaking them from the decorative bottle into my hand, I felt lucky, and knew I was lucky, just as I feel and know now. I’ve already won the lottery by being born into a loving, stable, hardworking family of generous comedians. And so it’s not a question of winning that occupies me, but what I’m doing with the prize. Have I shown thus far that I’m at least a little bit worthy of this wealth of dreams and memories, these countless incidents of loss, challenge, and illumination? Either way, the beauty of it is, the more I’m aware of it, the more the wealth increases. My work is my play, my play is my work, and this is my life. Material things don’t interest me. I possess nothing. Owning something legally is meaningless to me. Owning more has even less meaning. I buy books to read and admire, but in my mind they already belong to their next owners, and I wish them well. Is this art? To me it is. Everything is. Will my writing ever transcend itself and expand the idea of what writing can be? I have no idea. I’m willing for that to happen, but I don’t need it to in terms of ego or identity. Writing is what it is, and it becomes what it becomes in each mind that encounters it. In the process, those minds become what they become. Around and around it goes. Seven almonds, seven novels, seven poems — and one lucky old fool.