I am encountering in my studio—well, Christ, what aren’t I encountering? Let me put it another way, so this doesn’t become a catalog of everything I’m encountering in my studio these days (chief among those things, what would top my list were I to make one, are paralysis and disappointment and exhaustion). I will put it this way instead (believe me when I tell you, there is danger here, for I am a poet, and poets love to catalog, it is one of the tricks they carry up their sleeves; “No ideas but in things.” [William Carlos Williams]), I will say that one of the things I am faced with— No! That doesn’t work either! For I am faced with so many things! I am faced with the many difficulties and frustrations of being in the studio at the tail end of a very large project with no future I am able to foresee, I am faced with that, it is hard! I am like a cartoon character long in the desert, crawling on her hands and knees toward what may or may not be a mirage, that is how it feels to be working in the last stages of this project, all spirit and momentum are wrung out of me, and what I drag off the brush is the very last, the very last dregs of what I have to give. I do not know what I will be doing next, and I do not know that anyone will ever see what I am doing now, despite it absolutely needing to be seen. That is hard too. It is all hard. What is it that is easy? Now we are in safe territory (for once)!, for even if I were to catalog the answers to that question, I could not come up with very many things, so I wouldn’t have to make a catalog. I do not know that anything is easy, and that includes getting to the point of what I started out wanting to tell you, which is what I’ve been encountering in my studio, literally encountering (you see, that’s where I made my first fatal mistake, I shifted almost immediately away from what I wanted to tell you that was literal—I was literally facing it—to the more abstract exploration of “facing” and “encountering." I am encountering in my studio, I am facing it day after day and night after night, one of my truly great paintings, it is a goddamned gorgeous masterpiece, and I had wanted to talk to you about what distinguishes good paintings from great ones, but I did this instead, I talked about catalogs. Talk about a squandering!