We were asked to write about a single thing, an object in our childhood. And the object that meant most to me that was so significant was the bed I slept in with my brothers, all four of us. This half acre of a bed with a disaster of a mattress, which collapsed in the middle. Everybody peed in the bed, so the spring was gone, and we tried to keep it together with bits of string, but after a while the acid from our bodies rotted the string. We’d get into bed and we’d roll into the middle, the four of us, and fight, “Get out of my way.” Meanwhile the fleas were feasting on us. And if you had to go to the john, you went to a bucket and so on and came back. And we were — we’d light a candle to get at the — and we’d hold the candle and we’d go slapping at each other’s legs and bodies killing the fleas. That was probably the most concrete image I brought away from my childhood and I wrote about that. The professor gave me an “A+.” And I said, “Jesus, this is very strange.” And then he says, “Please read this to the class.” And I said, “No.” “Would you?” “No.” “Would you please?” I said, “No, I’d be ashamed.” And he read it. He said, “Do you mind if I read it?” So he read it to the class, and I think they sensed that I was the one who wrote it, and good-looking girls started looking at me in an interested way, but I thought they’d be — I thought they’d be disgusted. But I found myself being stalked leaving the class that day. “Is that how you grew up?” And it seemed — I seemed to suddenly have become kind of an exotic in the class. So that stuck in my head. I still wasn’t convinced that this was the material of my writing but I kept going with notebooks, and making lists of people I grew up with, the streets in Limerick, the shops, the priests and everything else. That was a turning point.