The artist went downstairs to the big trash pile in her fenced-in backyard and pulled out a large canvas painted solid black that she had carelessly thrown there yesterday while it was still wet.

She took the canvas upstairs to her studio placed it on the easel, and examined the damage done to it from being tossed in the trash heap; there were gouges, scrapes, and tears, “PERFECT”, she said.

She picked up her brush, backed away from the canvas, and turned to a large, luscious, red apple sitting on the table —– she began.

In thirty minutes or so., she stepped back and examined her work. In the upper left-hand corner, she’d painted a big, beautiful, luscious, red apple; in the bottom right-hand corner were four apple seeds, and rising from the seeds in an upward curve toward the big, red apple were depicted five steps of gradually larger, beautiful, developing, green apples. The stages moved from a small, dark green, marble-sized apple to a lighter green color and a little larger apple with the blush of ripeness beginning to show successively on to the next stage to an even prettier blush and more color and larger and large. Beside the stages were rich brown branches and dark green leaves shining against the coal-black background and of the four seeds in the bottom right corner, only one had sprouted.

She eyed her work carefully for a while from all angles; then she lay down on the floor and studied it a while longer. Finally, she got up and began adding paint to turn the progressing fruit to a warm, rich creamy pearl color until the large apple looked much more like a large pearl than an apple. When she was finished, she picked up the canvas and took it downstairs, and threw it into the pile of trash again. She pulled it out of the trash and threw it in again, and then again. Finally, satisfied, she left it there and went upstairs.

The next day she came down, retrieved the painting from the trash heap, took it upstairs to the easel, and began studying it. The beautiful painting was badly damaged, the pearl and green smeared into the marred black background but even through the heavy damage, the beauty was clearly visible. She took it from the easel, and leaned it against the wall, facing toward the wall.

She changed her clothes and went to her AA (ALCHOLICS ANONYMOUS) meeting.