When I was born, I was such a beautiful baby the doctor swept me up in his arms and going from room to room, showed me off to the entire hospital. I even smiled, they say, which made the mothers of the other babies sigh with envy.
This happened in 1912, shortly before the outbreak of the First World War, and it was my only uncontested success, I think. From then on my life has been one of continual decline. Not only did I lose much of my extreme good looks, but some of my hair and a few of my teeth as well. What’s more, I haven't been able to live up to what the world has expected of me.
I could not carry my plans into effect, nor make full use of my talent. Though I had always wanted to be a writer, my father, who was a pharmacist, insisted I follow in his footsteps. However, even that did not satisfy him. He took it into his head that I should have a better life than his own. So after I became a pharmacist, he sent me back to college to make a chemical engineer of me. This meant another four and a half years of delay before I could indulge my passion for writing.
I had hardly put pen to paper when the war broke out. Hungary declared war on the Soviet Union, and I was taken to the Front. Here, our army was made short shrift of and I found myself a prisoner of the Russians, a POW. This took another four and a half years out of my life. And when I returned home I was faced with yet further trials which did nothing to ease my way towards a career in writing.
From this it will be seen that what I was able to create under the circumstances, a couple of novels of various lengths, five or six volumes of short stories and two plays, I created more or less in secret, and I did so in the precious few hours I was able to wrench from the inexorable march of history. Perhaps this is why I have always striven for economy and precision, looking for the essence, often in haste. Startled by every ringing of the door bell, I had no reason, ever, to expect anything good either from the mailman or from any other arrival.
This also explains why, though as a new-born infant I may have attained to a perfection of sorts, from that time on I began to lose my lustre, to slip and falter and despite the circumstance that I became better at my trade and gained more and more self-knowledge, I have always been painfully aware of the impossibility of living up to my full potential.