"If you had to die now, in what ways would it be too soon?""

At age sixty-five, Carl Lehmann-Haupt - a member of the renowned Lehmann-Haupt family of writers and thinkers - received a diagnosis of throat cancer. His initial reactions were the expected ones: Confusion, frustration and gradual resignation.

But what emerged from his mind and soul in the months and years between then and the present day was anything but ordinary. With death lying in wait around every corner of Manhattan's Upper East Side, Lehmann-Haupt marshaled his vast intellect and artist's sensibility to confront the fundamental questions of death, existence, and the self.

"Then cancer intervened. I took it as a warning, a gun pointed at my temple, as if throat cancer were a cancer of the voice and my instructions were precise: Speak, write, say what you have to say or lose voice and life both."

THE CRAZY THING is an ongoing project Lehmann-Haupt intends to continue until he no longer can. There will be future volumes, influenced by reader questions, comments and criticisms that may be freely posted for the author to carefully read and consider as he realizes his completed vision.