Remember, it was the Summer of Love, and here I was, nineteen, sexually able but with my head shaved and at sea for weeks on end. The best of what I’d done so far and might do just ahead could only be described one blank page at a time. Drawing and writing soon started feeling interchangeable. I could now draw mug shots of my characters, I could write my still lifes. In sketchbooks, I paid studious homage to minds and skills far, far beyond my own. It felt like a religious practice but one freed of tithing to any single God.
You needed to make things.
I made something every day. Early on, I sensed that—in every art—the ultimate shared subject is human consciousness itself. The more comic-tragic notes you can wrest onto a single active page, the better. I would later suggest to my students that they put something funny on every page and something beautiful on every other. My naive obsession was to shape something so true, energized, and hilarious, it would necessarily outlive me. The goal was not becoming known, it was becoming useful.
You were conscious of a literary immortality even then?