More than any of my books this one was written for myself alone. But as it went on the old itch to get one’s work read began to re-assert itself, and by the time I had finished I was quite keen to see how those who knew me well would react to it. The initial responses were gratifying, so I decided to show it to Michael Schmidt at Carcanet, who has been publishing me for more than thirty years.
My main constraint had been to write each mini-essay in one day and to keep this up for a hundred days. In the light of the responses to the finished work by Michael and the friends I showed it to, I went over it, cut out as much of the flab as I could as well as the obvious repetitions, and in one instance rewrote an entire piece, thus making it, I hope, a better book. I want therefore to thank Michael, John McAuliffe and Andrew Latimer at Carcanet for their unfailing care and courtesy. When I am sure they had better things to do Rosalind Belben, Stephen Mitchelmore, Tim and Judith Hyman, Liza Dimbleby, Dick Earle and Alison Bury read what turned out to be a fairly long book and were warm in their encouragement, even if they did not always agree with what I had written. Bernard Sharratt commented in extraordinary detail on just about every essay and many of the diary entries, leading to a vigorous exchange which could have resulted in a whole other book. Tamar was as usual both warm in her response and firm in her convictions, saving me from several gaffes, and in one instance getting me to rewrite. It’s good to have such friends.