In the course of writing these reminiscences, I increasingly began to conceive of my body as a great cabinet of curiosities. Some of those many recondite drawers slide easily out and whack you on the shins, some need a little wax and sandpaper. Inside the drawers are folded sheets of cheap blue-lined paper, pages from journals or school reports, with pictures and diagrams pasted in. There are drawings, biological specimens with neat labels, inscrutable items with no labels, stains from bygone experiments, stoppered bottles and broken vials and their spilled, dried contents, in which a squadron of tiny fruit flies met their sticky deaths. There are slips of paper referring you to other drawers, unlabelled keys (you may despair of finding the locks they fit), and there are drawers within the drawers, behind sliding panels or false bottoms. I have found every drawer to be both bottomless and intricately connected to every other drawer, such that there can be no final unpacking. But you don't approach a cabinet of wonders with an inventory in hand. You open drawers at random. You smudge the glass jar in which the two-headed piglet sleeps. You filch one of Tom Thumb's calling cards. You read page two of a letter; one and three are missing, and you leave off in the middle of a sentence.

As a matter of fact, I am making a replica of this text: a huge wooden chest in the shape of my body, with innumerable drawers in which I will store my findings. Some of the drawers will be large and c a p a c i o u s, some smaller than matchboxes. Some will be disguised, some will be booby-trapped. I will hide secret buttons, levers and locks in my carved folds and crevices. You will have to feel your way in.