Gertrude Stein: On Creative Core (with humor)


#340/365 Paintings

Gertrude Stein: Conversation with John Hyde Preston

She has that air, so rare in writers, of living outside of both fame and criticism.

“You think you have used up all the air where you are Preston; you said you had used it up where you live, but that is not true, for if it were it would mean that you had given up all hope of change. I think writers should change their scenes; but the very fact that you do not know where you would go if you could means that you would take nothing truly to the place where you went and so there would be nothing there until you had found it, and when you did find it, it would be something you had brought and thought you had left behind. And that would be creative recognition, too, because it would have all to do with you and nothing really to do with the place.”

But what if when you tried to write you felt stopped, suffocated, and no words came and if they came at all they were wooden and without meaning?

“Preston, the way to resume is to resume,” She said laughing.  “It is the only way, to resume.”


Place and creativity. Such a big subject. Yet she brings it down to the precision of an eyelash. “There would be nothing there until you had found it..” I used to place a very large premium on place as the secret chemistry to a creative/productive life. Well, until this year. I never in a million years would have thought I could crank in a tiny mountain town without a Peet’s coffee/cafe. Soup made at the end of the day on an open fire without salt and noodles can be so super YUM at the end of a long hike—to do with the hiker’s intention… not the place or the lack of seasoning. And right now my soup is burning on the stove, so Ta Ta!


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