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Preface: Life as a Novel

Preface: Life as a Novel

The book you are reading is an "autobiographical novel."

It is autobiographical in that well over 95% of the events portrayed actually happened and they happened with me, Willy Chaplin, the author, present. They are the events that are important to me, the ones I reminisce about, the ones I tell stories about to whomever will listen.

It is a novel because I am less certain about the dialogue and the details. Those who accompanied me at those events may remember these things differently. I may have embellished them to make me look better...or worse...than I actually was. At best, memory is an inexact aptitude. Furthermore, it deteriorates, or a least grows dimmer, as one grows older, and I have grown MUCH older since this book began.

This format was inspired by my first wife, Mary. When I asked her whether there were any events involving her about which she did not wish me to write, she said, "Say anything you want. If I don't like what you write, I will simply deny it."

I have omitted writing much about any of my children. In fact, I try to mention only those events in which I was personally involved. Hey, they can write their own autobiographies!

I hope everyone else mentioned by name herein is similarly whimsical about any alleged misstatements on my part. On the other hand, fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

So, it is written in the third person, as though Willy and I are really different people. But, in a sense this is right and proper. Each of us is a participant, an observer and a critic of our own lives.

I have inserted first person commentary at places throughout, to speak of how I felt about the events happening around me in the world, what I was thinking. You will know these because they are written in bold-italics