The middle years, caught between children and parents, free of neither: the past stretches back too densely, it is too thickly populated, the future has not yet thinned out. No wonder a pattern is slow to emerge from such a thick clutter of cross-references, from such trivia, from such serious but hidden connections. Everything has too much history. . . . Even the table has too much history. Everything one does is weighed down with history. The way one mixes salad dressing, or chooses a pair of socks. Pre-history. And as for committing words to paper, it is not surprising that this exercise should present problems. When one was younger, one saw patterns everywhere, for the process of selection was so simple. One simply did not notice most things, having no means of noticing them. So they selected themselves.