I'm more than a little late to the Gertrude Stein party... last month I went to a used bookstore (my happy place!) and found a collector's edition of her famous lectures, Narration: Four Lectures. At $40, I was a bit turned off by the price so I begrudgingly left it on the shelf. I couldn't get it out of mind, so I went back a few days later and....poof! It was gone. Someone else was smart enough to buy it. Ever since then I'm on a bit of a GS binge. Her lectures are both stream of consciousness and stark and flowery and direct. I think she just might be my literary spirit animal.
Anyway, she was the original cool girl: she was a patron of the arts and a bonafide permission giver. There is a very strong argument that Hemingway borrowed quite a bit of Stein's writing style, to a much greater success. Picasso & Matisse, among others, painted portraits of her. She even took her poodle to fashion shows, like the one below at Balmain. One could say that Stein gave no f*cks. I love that about her.
Some of my favorite Gertrude Stein quotes...
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... It will come if it is there and if you will let it come.
Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone.
Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
We are always the same age inside.
It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.
There ain't no answer. There ain't going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That's the answer.
Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.
A writer should write with his eyes and a painter paint with his ears.