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  • Stephen Altman

The Taste of an Apple or the Odor of Woodsmoke

Fridays are Scrapbook Day here. The title of this past Wednesday's post, "I feel as if we've met somewhere . . ." brought to mind a scrap I'd saved from a short story called "Of Love: A Testimony," by that wonderful tormented writer, John Cheever. The quote has nothing to do with what I wrote about in the blog post but a lot to do with how Jerome and Viña get entangled in Blues for the Muse.

Cheever writes:

True love and hate are matters of first sight, rousing a strain deeper than memory. And yet they have the character of a memory unexpectedly startled like remembering a friend at the sight of his umbrella or a voyage recalled by the east wind. Meeting an enemy seems more a matter of recognition than discovery and it is the same, only deeper with a lover. Where have I seen you before? he wanted to ask her while he stood there talking with [his friend] Sears. And yet he knew that he had never seen her before. It was like being thrown back to a forgotten afternoon by the taste of an apple or the odor of woodsmoke.


[You know the two kids in the photo. It's like the past before the past, isn't it?--that feeling of being "thrown back to a forgotten afternoon." It may not be about lovers as such but is very much about "the taste of an apple or the odor of woodsmoke."]

And here's that last blog post I mentioned:

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