One time, when I was sitting at a bank of computers in the journalism department at New York University, a fellow student told me that the head of the NYU journalism department had given her an interesting piece of advice. She had been suffering from writer's block, she said, and Professor Serrin had told her that there was only one way to get out of writer's block—and that was to write.
Across the street of my childhood apartment in Forest Hills, Queens, there was a schoolyard. The schoolyard was very big and consisted of three sections—a section for the basketball courts, a section for the handball courts, swings and monkey bars, and a section for the infants.
The section for the infants had a fenced-off baby-swing area and a fountain. Around the fountain, there were many benches.
My mother told me that when I was an infant, she would come to the section of the park that was reserved for the infants. She painted a picture for me. She said: "When you were a baby, I would come to that area of the park, and every time I would go there, there would be mothers there, and they would be there with their babies, and they would all be talking to each other and having a nice time, sitting on the benches, and I would be there all by myself, and they would see that I was by myself, and not one of those women ever came up to me to talk to me or ask if I would like to join them.