I will try not to be so twisty and turny with my writing today, but I do not guarantee that I will succeed in those efforts. It is mostly because I am getting up in the middle of the night, and I am light with the illogic of dreams. If there was dewy grass, my footprints would betray the nonlinear progress of a bird. But I will try to stay in place and peck at some seeds—it’s possible the seeds will hop around, and I will follow them, I am sorry for that, I do not have any control over what seeds do. Yesterday, there was someone in my studio who said the word breakthrough, and with this one word, I ceased to be a painter. No, that’s not true. I will pick up the brush and paint today, so I will still be a painter. But I will be a painter who will never have her breakthrough; I will be a painter who doesn’t even know what that means. I will therefore be a stupid painter. Do you know what I woke up thinking about? The meaning of the word prospective as it relates to retrospective. These were the thoughts that carried me from sleep to wakefulness at three a.m. Then I thought of progress as it relates to regress, proceed/recede (why suddenly the ede?), and then I changed subjects. Of course I know what breakthrough means! I know what it is to have breakthroughs as an artist. These are the things I know about breakthroughs: They are accidental; they are hard-won; they are unanticipated (which is probably the same as accidental); they are…never in the forecast. They are retrospective, they are not prospective! One cannot look ahead to a breakthrough. But if one cannot look ahead to a breakthrough, it is because it doesn’t exist. If a thing is not prospective, it cannot be relied upon to exist. There is, I know, always the possibility that a thing will come into existence out of nonexistence at some future date—witness all the babies being born—but it is not a certainty, it cannot be a certainty! With the introduction of this word, I am now made aware of a nonprospective (therefore nonexistent) nonevent—the entire non-ness of the thing, that is its only salient feature! And with this perspective, I am able to see more clearly what I am (this is sometimes not a good thing!): I am a painter whose only prospect is what she will paint today, and it will be very much like what she painted yesterday. It’s a sort of prospective sameness that becomes a retrospective sameness, which absolutely precludes—this is the equation of the algebra of painting!—doing anything but what one does. I will not insult your intelligence by telling you that this is antithetical to the concept of breakthrough. I will insult your intelligence by trying (and failing) to trick you.