You almost can’t become a serious professional writer unless there is a built-in arrogance in yourself that you have something special about yourself. It’s a vanity and when the vanity is misplaced, as it usually is, it’s sad, if not tragic. But, once in a while you’re up to your own idea of yourself. Now, I was never up to my own idea of myself and any other activity. You know, we could get funny about this. I could say, “Well, of course, at six, one is always forgiving about one’s own merits,” but in any event, when it came to writing I was totally serious about it. Truly I had great good luck in my life, two ways. One was, I very early in life — by the time I was 17 or 18 — I knew I had a vocation. I knew there was one thing I wanted to be and that was a writer. That’s a great help. Then I had the secondary luck that my parents who, being good Jewish folk, thought I should have an absolutely practical profession — medicine, law, something like that — but converted, because I won a college contest when I was 18. It was a nationwide college contest for short stories, and after that there was no argument in their heart. They thought, “He’s going to be a writer.”