Cézanne’s Linda

By c michael goodwin

Cézanne … Picasso and Matisse called him “the Father of us all”. Painting in the time of Impressionism he went beyond, Cézanne’s passion to find the truth in perception. Cézanne was after what he called “the lived perspective.” He wanted to capture all the complexities that an eye observes. He needed the moment, not a still life but real life: using colors, shapes and forms. He craved authenticity.

I heard a poet speak of him today. I was at a reading on a wet Sunday afternoon, in the back of a restaurant separated by an old fashion curtain. She spoke how Cézanne loved trees and the common folk. When he chose a tree as a subject, Cézanne talked to the Tree. He put his hand on the bark to hear the tree breathe. And when I got home I saw this picture of Linda. I asked, what would Cézanne do?

Sometimes Cézanne would for hours try and master one stroke, to make his brush come alive. Each stroke needed to contain “the air, the light, the object, the composition, the character, the outline, and the style”. And I imagined Cézanne studying this touching picture of sweet Linda. And not knowing her could he see, could he feel, could he make Linda Come Alive. As Linda helped so many others, for she is also a master painter and lover of trees.

How could Cézanne get the air? He would need to hear Linda hum, how she vibrates sending little bolts of energy, not named just her. The light comes from her smile, even in this blurry still life Linda is unstoppable. The object, I wonder would Linda like this? But she would have faith that ol’ Cézanne would go beyond it. As for the composition, Cézanne wouldn’t see it, but he sure the hell would feel it. No doubt the centerpiece of the painting, Linda’s heart. The character is written in the hair that is not there. She is naked and her friends love her even more, or in AA terms, she walks the talk. The outline is simple. Cézanne changed painting. Not just the bright colors of Impressionism, he searches for all perspectives. And loves the Shadows and the grays, perfect to find the full Linda. Her celebration is the outline. And lastly, the style. See Linda walk, watch her enter a room, and be in conversation with her. Yes, yes this picture Cézanne could work with, yes indeed.

The other day, Wednesday, I sat on a panel, a panel celebrating Recovery. There were 3 of us: an older woman, a younger woman and me. As I heard the other two speak before me, I was amazed with their clarity and commitment … such passion. The giving of their soul in the hope others may hear, what Courage. I melted.

The event put on by two women, both in the dance of life. One shared with me as a young girl she looked up in the sky and saw a ladder, a ladder to the stars. How much dark is in-between to get to the brightest stars. The other woman, well, I know her well. She is a great gift, and it was looking at her and then the others I realized where would I be without women.

And I laughed to meself, when this question popped up in me mind. Does a man have to have a mental illness before he gets it? Us men, we are such fools. Our large egos and walkin hard-ons, and our idea of Right. Damn, our masculinity needs short breaths to succeed. I looked across at these four women and knew, at that moment, it was the Goddess. The goddess energy that took me to the darkest and deepest chamber of me heart, and is in every woman.

I watched my mother die of cancer when I was 20 years old. She gave up and withered away. A part of me left that day, and took me a long time to find. I unconsciously searched for it. The emptiness could not be filled with power. I confused power with strength.To shut one’s heart is to shut one’s life. And, in time, I blamed women.

And what I once blamed became the boon of my life. I saw that night on the panel the gift that was given me, the beauty of the Goddess. As I study this picture of Linda before me eyes, Amor fati — the love of fate — falls before me:

I find courage; I have strength.

O, women of the world do not forsake us.



You can support Linda in her journey with cancer here.

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