A: I think I won't I think I will I think I will I think I won't I think I won't I think I will I think I will I think I won't I think I won't I think I will I think I will I think I won't I think I will I think I won't I think I will I think I won't I think I will I think I won't I think I won't I think I won't I think I won't I think I will I think I won't Of course I think I will I think I won't I think I won't I think I will This is a good example if you do not abuse it.
Q: An example?
A: Of Gertrude Stein, but of art that is alive. It is implicitly - as here explicitly - an all but continuous insistence on deciding, on choosing and refusing.
Q: It gives me a feeling that she has just left her motor running.
A: So she has, so that you can listen to it without distraction.
Q: Am I actually to confuse the art of literature with internal combustion engines?
A: It seems one has to confuse literature with something if one is to think about it articulately. One can very well measure the authenticity and power of a work by its truth to its time. There are other measures, but the truth to its time is most easily seen by comparing or confusing it with the typical real created product of the time, in our case the internal combustion engine surely. There is nothing terribly wrong with letting the natural power of a natural subject pull the created thing along except that it constitutes a horse-and-buggy situation and puts you in a horse-andbuggy time. You become schizochronic, if you please, and sentimental. "We have all forgotten the horse" should be true, but there is a minority chic and a majority relaxation in going in for horses and horse-drawn literature.
Q: But why should we forget the horse?
A: Because it cannot be completely exciting any more. You are not really living your life when you amuse yourself with horses. And art should be an intense and real way of living one's life, actually and not retrospectively....
Q: But what was that "of course" late in the passage?
A: The motor missed.
Q: I think it missed the horse.
A: Yes, it is human. When it abandons its own energy of choice and says "of course" to anything, either it is coasting or it is letting a natural thing do the moving. But I confess it is a pleasure and refreshing to have it happen, at least in the proportion in which the passage has it happen. It saves us from making a mechanical necessity of choice.
Q: Let us not abuse the example.
--An excerpt from an interview with Gertrude Stein. More to come.