And what of them, my own composition markers, my anonymous readers, my judges? How can I tell them that for me writing is more than fancy, even more than vocation? My mission is to rekindle the dying fire, to fan it to blazing heat. Just give me half a chance. Give me a leg up. Let me get one foot on the lowest rung of the ladder and you’ll see me climb. Twenty-nine years old and I swore I would be on my way by thirty, three months to go, why else the solitude, why else the low pay and even lower esteem? For how can I not see it in their eyes, the surprise and the pity, he seems such a capable young man, what’s he doing teaching in a Sussex prep school, you’d think he’d have more ambition than that. Oh yes I have ambition. More even than your little dreams of swimming pools and personalized number plates. Long after I’ve forgotten you and your children, you’ll be telling fibs in pubs about how you knew me once.