( ... )

It is with great reluctance and a lingering uneasiness that I allow this manuscript to be published. The man who wrote it was neither a close friend nor a patient. Yet there was a certain intimacy, a trust, if you will, that resulted from a few long, quiet conversations in New York and a barrage of frenzied telephone calls after I had returned to the West Coast.
I hadn't seen or heard from him in nearly two years when he showed up at my door and handed me the book. I almost didn't recognize him -- he had changed that much, and his voice was unfamiliar. He only asked me to read it and then dispose of it as I saw fit.
It was a strange, awkward moment standing in the doorway in the middle of the night listening to the whispers of a barely recognizable acquaintance. I haven't heard from him or heard anything about him since.
This is a troubling story. Not because it strains my sense of belief, as I'm sure it will yours, but because of its singular, clear passion and its terrible implications. To focus one's life so intensely, to make the choices and the decisions he forced himself to make, to bring oneself so close to the fires of self-realized pain without the hope of ever extinguishing it -- this is a prospect that could shatter one's psyche or soul or whatever you ascribe to.

I think I must say that I don't really believe his story. But based on prior conversations (which I have no intention of ever revealing) I know that he believed it. And I know that he acted on that belief. If it was true to him, then it is true enough to be printed. I think he knew that even with some doubt I would preserve his story and be compelled to publish it. I think that is what he wanted.

Terence Taylor Gold, Ph.D.


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