No. 196. Photo Op.
Recently, his hitherto highly private, indeed sepulchral, career as a painter had somehow begun to gather modicum of interest, and now an art magazine had dispatched a photographer to take pictures of his recent work--and, worse luck--of him as well, often posed (though he protested only as vigorously as was consistent with getting the job done) in front of his work.
"What's this one called?" asked the beleaguered photographer, fiddling with lenses and light meters.
"Tree With Seated Figure," he said. "From 2015," he added--as if it mattered. As he sat there trying to be patient, he kept thinking about the delightful interchange between Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine in the early minutes of Alfred Hitchcock's film, Rebecca. Fontaine is trying to explain to Olivier that her father, who had been a painter, painted only trees. "Only one tree actually," she adds, half-embarrassed at the recollection. "The same tree over and over?" asks the amused and incredulous Olivier. "Yes, my father felt that when you had happened upon something perfect, you should stick with it!"

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