I wanted to be a painter | Fragments are the only forms I trust (Donald Barthelme)

You’ve noticed the wall? I pin things on it, souvenirs. There is the red hat, there the book of instructions for the Ant Farm And this is a traffic ticket written on a saint’s day (which saint? I don’t remember) in 1 954 just outside a fat little town (which town? I don’t remember) in Ohio by a cop who asked me what I did. I said I wrote poppycock for the president of a university, true then.

You can see how far I’ve come. Lunar hostility studies aren’t for everyone.

It’s my hope that these . . souvenirs . . will someday merge, blur–cohere is the word, maybe-into something meaningful. A grand word, meaningful. What do I look for? A work of art, I’ll not accept anything less Yes I know it’s shatteringly ingenuous but I wanted to be a painter. They get away with murder in my view; Mr. X. on the Times agrees with me. You don’t know how I envy them They can pick up a Baby Ruth wrapper on the street, glue it to the canvas (in the right place, of course, there’s that), and lot people crowd about and cry, “A real Baby Ruth wrapper, by God; what could be realer than that!” Fantastic metaphysical advantage. You hate them, if you’re ambitious.

The Ant Farm instructions are a souvenir of Sylvia. The red hat came from Cardinal Y. We’re friends, in a way.

I wanted to be one, when I was young, a painter. But I couldn’t stand stretching the canvas. Does things to the fingernails. And that’s the first place people look.

Fragments are the only forms I trust.

From “See the Moon?” by Donald Barthelme.

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