Bill Board, the painter, found himself reflecting on the nature of writing. For the first time it occurred to him, though no doubt it was obvious to everyone else, that there was a difference between writing and language, and that you could have one without the other. It suddenly struck him that there was a mystery there, and that the mystery had to do with the mysterious condition that we call, for want of a better word, human. Why did that strike him? I don't know why it struck him. But maybe it struck him because he saw that what he had been doing as a painter had always been a form of writing and that in so doing he was getting perilously close to some mute source of knowledge that might provoke a mutiny against meaning and just on the other side of which was the disintegration we call madness. Which is to say:



--all his life he'd been dealing with it, animals use language but even chimps don't write





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