EE Cummings on Painting... and house painting

 "Forward to an Exhibit: II" (1945)

[Here Cummings constructs an imaginary interview in which he connects his painting with his poetry.]

Why do you paint?
For exactly the same reason I breathe.
That’s not an answer.
There isn’t any answer.
How long hasn’t there been any answer?
As long as I can remember.
And how long have you written?
As long as I can remember.
I mean poetry.
So do I.
Tell me, doesn’t your painting interfere with your writing?
Quite the contrary: they love each other dearly.
They’re very different.
Very: one is painting and one is writing.
But your poems are rather hard to understand, whereas your paintings are so easy.
Of course--you paint flowers and girls and sunsets; things that everybody understands.
I never met him.
Did you ever hear of nonrepresentational painting?
I am.
Pardon me?
I am a painter, and painting is nonrepresentational.
Not all painting.
No: housepainting is representational.
And what does a housepainter represent?
Ten dollars an hour.
In other words, you don’t want to be serious--
It takes two to be serious.
Well let me see...oh yes, one more question: where will you live after this war is over?
In China; as usual.
Of course.
Wherabouts in China? 
Where a painter is a poet.

from E. E. Cummings, A Miscellany Revised. Edited by George Firmage, New York: October House, 1965. 316-17.