T.R. Softly is someone I’d like to know in real life; he was only partly self-consciously willed on the page. Friends have asked if he is me. No. He’s a generation younger, has a working knowledge of things I can only pretend to, occupies his time in very different ways, and has a capacity for derring-do that I can only write about. He’s chief of his realm; I’m a scribe. But as those who know me will no doubt attest, TR does have interests and some experiences akin to mine: we both went to Yale, making my research job easier; he has skills that mirror some I once pretended to; and he is, no doubt, someone, imagining a different life, I might like to have been. He’s unconventional, mostly imperturbable, and sees to the heart of things, rather than filtering his impressions and thoughts through preconceived patterns, as his father and others around him do. He’s genuinely curious about a wide range of human activities (he goes to the trouble of demanding that a Yale administrator let him take courses that don’t seem to belong together). He’s got a good BS detector. He’s also, perhaps admirably, perhaps surprisingly, naïve about his personal life. He has good friends, whom he keeps, but is always ready to move on to the next case. Which means, I suppose, I’ll have to keep on writing.