Ask for stories from the childhood of anyone near. Ask, for instance, for every story your middle-aged neighbor remembers from the year when she was six. Then, from when she was eight. Then, from when she was nine. If you meet with refusal, don’t be deterred—merely inquire of a different age, a different year, a different place and time. Ask acquaintances, colleagues, friends of friends, people working in public. Ask in any circumstance at all, and memorize all that you’re told. Ask grandparents, ask uncles, ask postal works and strangers on the bus and the ferry. Ask and remember—then contemplate what you’ve heard, and ask some more.