25 October 2013
I think I am finally going to let go of my self-consciousness at repeating myself. I think repeating means it matters. Or that it is something to learn over and over until I get it right. And even then–to repeat it even if I already know it, because it bears repeating.
Last night before going to bed, I was reading parts of The Making of Americans by Gertrude Stein. The following lines hit me square in my chest:
“I am writing for myself and strangers. This is the only way that I can do it. Everybody is a real one to me, everybody is like some one else too to me. No one of them that I know can want to know it and so I write for myself and strangers.
There are many that I know and they know it. They are all of them repeating and I hear it. I love it and I tell it, I love it and now I will write it. This is now the history of the way some of them are it.
I write for myself and strangers. No one who knows me can like it. At least they mostly do not like it that every one is a kind of men and women and I see it. I love it and I write it.
Always and more and more I love repeating, it may be irritating to hear from them but always more and more I love it of them. More and more I love it of them, the being in them, the mixing in them, the repeating in them, the deciding the kind of them every one is who has human being.
This is now a little of what I love and how I write it. Later there will be much more of it.
Now I will tell all the meaning to me in repeating, the loving there is in me for repeating.
There are many that I know and they know it. They are all of them repeating and I hear it. I love it and I tell it. I love it and now I will write it. This is now a history of my love of it. I hear it and I love it and I write it. They repeat it. They live it and I see it and I hear it. They live it and I hear it and I see it and I love it and now and always I will write it. There are many kinds of men and women and I know it. They repeat it and I hear it and I love it. This is now a history of the way they do it. This is now a history of the way I love it.
Now I will tell of the meaning to me in repeating, of the loving there is in me for repeating.”
– Gertrude Stein, from The Making of Americans
I have never really understood her before ModPo, and have avoided her works like the plague because they always give me a headache. I still have much to learn, I know that–but I think she is finally starting to make sense.
No–that’s wrong. She has always made sense. It is me who’s full of fragments, and, fragmented, am finding it hard to piece it all back together. But this is a start. Don’t you think?
That is probably why I sent you an email a while ago. That is probably why I went to bed at past three in the morning, brain and heart full, and yet wondering, wondering what to do now.
This was from my notes a year ago–Stein was once asked, “Why don’t you write the way you talk?” She answered: “Why don’t you read the way I write.”