EARLY MEMORIES, 1897-1912
Many years passed before I could settle down to writing this book. There were several matters nagging at my mind. First, as I had ceased writing novels and short stories in 1940, it seemed to me that I could have lost whatever composing facility and technique I had acquired over a period of more than twenty years. Too, my memory had begun to fail me. Would I therefore be able to recall the details of a life that had already spanned seventy-seven years, particularly since I had never kept a diary? And, as a corollary to this, did I have a reservoir of energy abundant enough to carry me through the enervating exercise of writing a book, writing because I had lost the acquired aptitude to use the typewriter?
Consider also the surroundings of a man retired from all bourgeois activities and living in the small island of Barbados, the cottage sitting on a white-sanded tropical beach, 1 receiving the rolling waves, at times loudly, at times silently. What can such a man do but lie in a reclining chair and read every book that comes his way, suffering periodic bouts of boredom in reaction to the loss of an extremely active life?
My other worry — and a much more serious one — was this: Could a book of my life be justified? Was my life rich and exciting enough to warrant the pouring out of so much energy from an already depleted reservoir, the punishment of so much doubt and anxiety during the long journey of the writing — if at the end of the journey the book could find no publisher? After all, what reputation had I enjoyed in the