ifty years ago, I walked in the October fog of SF, and for the first time in my life, felt I was home. Until a few years ago, I thought it was just the warmth of the mist enclosing me, hiding me, as it did the buildings which disappeared into it, leaving their architectural details visible only as shadows to my eye. As everyone alive then, I was confronted with a Reality that could be vaporized in a moment.

As an aspiring artist, I came to that city for its standing as the "Paris of the West" (I believed the town's PR; its next pitch was as "The Athens of America" for someone's 'Great Books', with "philosophers strolling the streets talking great ideas", in Pacific Heights yet). Foremost in my mind was painting. Till then, my training had been in the physical and chemical construction of the surface (to be more than a coat of lipstick), to make works that justified their existence by attending their owners for their lifetimes--being there as a stable reality for those who wanted to compare the past experiences of their minds with present ones.

The Atomic Age gave the lie to permanence. How then to make durable works of art when there is no future for them to endure? I was paralyzed by the question, pacing my small apartment in the age of anxiety.

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