I was born and grew up in southern California, in a very dysfunctional family from which I felt utterly alienated from the very beginning. The fact that my own early memories fade off into nothingness the further back in time I try to remember has always seemed remarkable to me. There’s something strange and mysterious about it, even though I imagine this must actually be the norm of human experience. Nobody can remember everything all the way back to their birth, can they? But looking back and trying to trace the whole strange arc of my life, something that I do more and more these days as I stubbornly persist in trying (probably in vain) to make sense of it all, I see it disappearing into the far distance that is the past and it makes me feel like I must have come into being in such a way, i.e. gradually, somehow fading into existence from out of the dry blue air and the sunshine and the distant mountains. I must have gone from essence to existence in a mysterious incremental process, little by little taking on weight and specificity and locality, and becoming a person. It gives me a sense of peace now to think of my life beginning this way, being born from the world at large, from a world unlimited in space or time.