When I taught myself how to paint—I taught myself how to paint—I taught myself by painting on paper, it was only much later, after switching to canvas, that I realized how difficult, on top of the already colossal difficulty of teaching myself how to paint, how much more difficult (I mean to say) I had made it for myself by painting on paper rather than canvas. I did not know it at the time that I began to teach myself, I did not know how much less forgiving paper is than canvas—I didn't know! Paper is the glowing white austere northerner, whereas canvas is a Mediterranean bon vivant—I do not wish to carry that metaphor any further. I am not terribly happy I introduced it. I will not delete it, although I have not made that rule for myself here, though I have made it for myself elsewhere, that I am not permitted to delete—well, in point of fact, I've never made the rule for myself that I am not permitted to edit, so I am sorry I introduced this digression as well. Back to the matter at hand. Paper. It was very hard! Paper can't take a lot of paint before it simply gives up and says it can't, it can't do it anymore! Too much paint, and it is overburdened. Although in my opinion paper is the most beautiful substrate, it is not terribly strong, and it is even less, as I say, forgiving. When I made the switch from paper to canvas, after about two years of painting on paper, it was a revelation, and at first it was not a good one. I had trained on paper, and I did not like how canvas behaved, it was like a slut! I could not get refined results the way I had learned to on paper—I simply could not, and every mark therefore had to be broad, I could not paint little things. Eventually, of course, I grew to love canvas, and I began to work with it exclusively. But I do not have a lifelong love affair with canvas the way I do with paper. I am grateful to canvas for existing, and I am grateful to it for letting me be a bad painter making terrible choices during the course of any given painting before I am able to right myself and make better choices that lead to a better painting, I am grateful to its patience, sufferance and endurance. (I think that becoming a better painter is merely the evolution of making fewer mistakes for a shorter duration...paintings are always made out of mistakes, are they not, we should not wish to eliminate them, only perhaps to make fewer than I am even at present known to make?) I am very grateful also to canvas that I can buy yards upon yards of it for not very much money (gesso is another matter, and I am not grateful to gesso for much, except of course for existing, I do not wish to work on unprimed canvas), which is lucky because I am so prolific. I am grateful to canvas, and I love it. But I do not love it like I love paper. With the exception of the blood of my family, I do not think I have loved anything as long or as fully as I have loved paper. Full stop. Did you know, sometimes you can write and write and write, and the point just doesn't arrive? There comes a moment when you, as the writer, realize: there isn't a point, there are many points, but no center, nothing I am orbiting around, I am just millions of stars in the vast unstructured darkness. I did not know that would happen, but here it has happened. Oftentimes writing contains the very force that causes coalescence—that is how I write, generating that force with my words. But sometimes, and it has happened today, it does not contain this force. I am very sorry about this! I owe you many apologies for leading you to not much of anything at all, to an entirely underwhelming conclusion. Writing unlike painting is not built on mistakes.