It was one of those sort of child dreams that oftentimes gets knocked out of the child and replaced by something else, sometimes something equally grand.  Well, from the time I had that little poetry competition in my head between “Swanee River” and “Little Black Boy,”  I always  knew that what I wanted was to write.  And I digressed occasionally.  There was a period in which I wanted to be an actress, which I later realized was simply that I wanted to be applauded.  I had no gift for theater at all. I had a good memory.  I could memorize lines, but I was a very wooden performer.  I was cleaving so hard to an evolving self, the idea of subordinating that self to a role was completely impossible.  My mother, with whom I was often at war in that period, kept saying, “Darling, darling, it’s such a shame you want to be an actress, because you’re such a fine writer and painter.”  And she left the rest unsaid and that made me more stubborn.  But that was very brief. And then I went back to what I dreamed of.  I didn’t know what you did to become a writer with a book.  But I wrote poems from the time I was in my early, early teens.  I submitted my first book when I was 13 or 14.  It was, of course, sent back.  And poems to magazines.  And I persisted.