One night, when I was in high school — in a kind of ranch school in Tucson — I had a dream. Actually I have dreams every night, but in that dream, I had somehow acquired sixty two million dollars. That exact sum. In the early sixties, that was a lot of money.
The dream stayed with me for weeks, always somewhere in the back of my mind, and sometimes not so far back. During that time I would — when not otherwise occupied with classes and friends and horses — fantasize about what I could do with such a fortune. I don’t remember what my thoughts were, except that they were not what someone my age might typically wish for. No cars, no boats, no big houses, no social power, no world travel. I don’t think I indulged in the same fantasy more than once.
But after a while I realized that, no matter what the fantasy, no matter how elaborate and detailed and extravagant, it always ended with, “…and then I’ll have time to write.” And that stopped me short. That was the real fantasy.
I had no more daydreams about wealth, just a longing for the kind of freedom to write which it might give me. I knew what I wanted to do with my life. While my school-mates were struggling to figure that out, I was sure. I didn’t know how I was going to accomplish it, that took me a while to work out. But I have been, in one way or another, whatever else my life was like, a writer ever since.