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  • Writer's pictureJae Hodges

Cezanne's Apples

Updated: Jan 28, 2020

I'm reading Francine Prose's What to Read and Why (Harper Perennial, 2018), a book that presents 33 essays on reading, and the written word as art, and what books at least she considers important to the reading life. One of the first things she points out, and what caught my attention, was a comparison (not hers) of Cezanne's apples to untalented and smudgy scrawls, that is, not really art and certainly not art considered important. Art (including writing), like everything else, is in the eyes of the beholder, and really only requires that we feel something or are in some way inspired. While I'm familiar with some of Cezanne's works, I could not off the top of my head picture his apples, so I pulled out my trusty smart phone to look them up. I can't say that I would ever think to hang one of his many apple paintings in my house, I was immediately inspired to design a photographic scene. What I came up with bears little to no comparison to Cezanne, i.e., I tend toward darker shadows, muted colors, more detail, etc. except for the inspiration. Shouldn't that be enough? Anyway . . . for my interpretation, I used a silver-plated pedestal bride's basket crafted by a well-established jeweler in St. Louis, Missouri, in my estimate, around 1882. I'm holding on to this theory because my great-great grandparents were married that year, and the pattern is consistent for that time period. Perhaps it's just the detailed silver casting, but something about this picture says Spanish to me, which means this picture will somehow, sometime make its way into a series of stories focusing on Hispanic mothers that I've started working on. In a roundabout way, this illustrates how I end up using what I read, whether intended by the author or not, as craft books. I read this, it made me think of that, I crafted a scenario, and end up with a story. No writing craft or instruction manual could put it as simply as that.

St. Louis, Missouri, 1882.

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