- Birthday, Books, Fiction, Poetry, Quotes, Writing

“Looking is not vanishing.”

Happy birthday, Gertrude Stein! Here’s a selection of quotes from her marvelous writing:

“Writing and reading is to me synonymous with existing.”

“Why should a sequence of words be anything but a pleasure?”

“I like the feeling of words doing as they want to do and as they have to do when they live where they have to live that is where they have come to live which of course they do do.”

“One does not get better but different and older and that is always a pleasure.”

stein 1

“All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation… You have no respect for anything. You drink yourselves to death.”

“A very important thing is not to make up your mind that you are any one thing.”

“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.”

“Laughter is not evaporating.”

“The creator of the new composition in the arts is an outlaw until he is a classic.”

stein 2

“The whole question of questions and not answers is very interesting. Suppose no one asked a question.”

“[A] masterpiece […] may be unwelcome but it is never dull.”

“Nothing could bother me more than the way a thing goes dead once it has been said.”

“I do want to get rich but I never want to do what there is to do to get rich.”

“Is it worse to be scared than to be bored, that is the question.”

stein 3.png

“If you can’t say anything nice about anyone else, come sit next to me.”

“You will write if you will write without thinking of the result in terms of a result, but think of the writing in terms of discovery, which is to say that creation must take place between the pen and the paper, not before in a thought or afterwards in a recasting. Yes, before in a thought, but not in careful thinking. It will come if it is there and if you will let it come, and if you have anything you will get a sudden creative recognition. You won’t know how it was, even what it is, but it will be creation if it came out of the pen and out of you and not out of an architectural drawing of the thing you are doing.”

“You look ridiculous if you dance. You look ridiculous if you don’t dance. So you might as well dance.”

stein 4

“Whenever you get there, there is no there there.”

“If you can do it then why do it?”

 

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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