When nobody else was around or willing to sit still for me, I drew whatever I could see of myself: my feet, for example; my legs. What my eyes showed me, though, looked very strange on paper. My dinky, knobbly feet were hitched to spindly ankles that swelled like a bellows to the knee, then widened even further to my thighs. My massive, conical thighs were like two funnels jammed to the bottom of a grain hopper, which was my squarish torso, big as a house. I was a funky headless homunculus with linebacker shoulders and Tinkerbell toes. It was the truth (from my perspective), but what use was it to art? In my renderings of all-I-could-see, I had better leave myself out, or regard myself in a mirror, at a safe distance. Look too closely, I noted, and you will see monsters. Realism, and possibly reality itself, is reticence and fudging it.

I was a scholar of legs, carrying on my investigations down on the bricks or flagstones, among the grown-ups' feet. Here I am with my jacks, my tops, my patterns in the dirt. Around me are the tree-trunks of legs, with their tropical growths, the parasitic vines of their varicose veins, the gorgeous locoweed of burst blood vessels. The wild hairs standing off the stretched, dessicated skin, or the coarse black stubble, hard as jet. My grandfather's knobbly knees were crude and overlarge, like the club of a cartoon caveman. Feet were battered arcane shapes, polished in places to patent leather.

I looked at my own body: flesh still growing is almost spirit, it clasps the bone, doesn't hang from it, you hardly recognize it as a substance. Grown-up flesh has more and more in common with sand, bark, old canvas, rust and mud. We resemble inanimate things more and more, until one day we become one. But at the time, casting judgement with my jacks, I wondered why they had let themselves come to such a pass. Flesh was thought, corrupt thought corrupted flesh, but will could strain and clarify both thought and flesh. That was my despotic fantasy. At what point did their attention lapse? I wouldn't let that happen to me.