"My family tells a story that when I was a girl of five or six years, I set about scribbling furiously on a large sheet of paper my mother had put down on the floor. Crayons scattered around me, tongue stuck out in concentration, I worked the colors onto the page. The texture of the linoleum came up through the paper, adding surprise designs to my drawing, which seemed to appear like magic. My mother wandered by and asked me, 'What are you drawing?'

" 'A picture of God,' I replied.

"My mother knelt down to deliver her disappointing news as gently as possible. 'Oh honey, you can't do that. . . . Nobody knows what God looks like.'

"I hear that I did not even lift my gaze from the enthrallment of my artwork as I informed her, 'They will, as soon as I'm done with my drawing.' "