From the Back Story
. . . The stories of Ellis Island and Other Stories were written with a thoroughly broken heart and yet great and abiding hope. In the years of their composition I lived without the distractions of family, success, fame, companionship, position, employment, or income. In one of the hovels I inhabited I had neither refrigeration nor much light, and cooked every single one of my meals on a shovel that I found in a garbage dump, with driftwood gleaned from the banks of the Hudson. With a budget of a dollar a day, I discovered many ways to cook turkey anus on the shovel, and would walk or run marathon distances to see friends. In these conditions, fundamental and consequential things came easily to the fore, and I thought of nothing else . . .