I used to love the messiness of Wite-Out. The way it created gloppy uneven ridges on previously pristine paper. I would never have thought to go back and retype papers when all you had to do was brush over the mistakes and wait for it to dry. The results were usually kind of a mess but I always believed it added character and personality to my half-assed homework.

I never graduated to electric typewriters or word-processors with more sophisticated technology to attack typos. I leapt straight from manual machines to the laptop age. But the collage thing I started doing during lockdown has brought a version of Wite-Out back into my life.

I slather acrylic gesso over sections of old pictures that I think need correcting. These marks leave unique impressions and textures on the canvas. It’s a record of a decision to pivot or change what’s beneath it. A new layer that obscures but doesn’t completely nullify what was there before. I like there to be evidence of process and struggle in a picture. It indicates a history rather than the idea that an image was hatched all at once out of nothing and nowhere.

When I visited my parents a few weeks ago, my brother Max gave me an envelope of saved concert tickets. He asked me to make a collage with them.

Up to now, most of the collages have been made of bits of my own history. To use someone else’s was a challenge. But a concert ticket is a very familiar thing to me so I agree to try.

At first I rip off the perforated ends that usually feature seat numbers, prices, and undecipherable codes. But then I start leaving them in because they serve as a kind of rhyming refrain. I have fun blacking out select words or phrases to leave a kind of gibberish poetry. This collection of Max’s tickets is an informal diary going back over a decade. I hope what I made resonates for him and honors the many hours he spent in all those theaters, clubs, and trashed fields full of heavy metal maniacs.

At the Art Institute there’s a show of Picasso’s work on paper. The show is crowded and cramped the day I visit. The best thing included is a Cubist era collage by Georges Braque. I don’t stay long.

I spend a lot longer with a show of Canova sketches. It isn’t so packed with iPhone photographers and the rooms are sparsely filled with this minor half-realized work.

I have little familiarity with Antonio Canova and this exhibition doesn’t inspire me to learn more. The more finished busts and figures look like things that would look good in an affluent gangster’s palazzo or maybe an extra-decadent Italian restaurant. But I’m a sucker for grubby things made by hand and there are plenty of those.

By the time all the messy parts have been buffed away to leave a reflective sheen I’ve long ago lost interest.

I’m reading at Mallory’s book-launch Friday at Tangible. Join us.

I read the first few pages of Renata Adler’s Speedboat into a microphone.

I designed a t-shirt for Maudlin House.