to hold on to you.”
-Henriikka Tavi, “Mourning Cloak”
Translation by David Hackston
The beauty of the body depends on the way in which the limbs are joined together, each one when severed from the others have nothing remarkable about it, but the whole together forming a perfect unity. Similarly great thoughts which lack connection are themselves wasted and waste the total sublime effect, whereas if they cooperate to form a unity and are linked by the bonds of harmony, they come to life and speak just by virtue of the periodic structure. It is indeed generally true that, in periods, grandeur results from the total contribution of many elements.
Now, for the poet, he nothing affirms, and therefore never lieth, for, as I take it, to lie is to affirm that to be true which is false… . But the poet, as I said before, never affirmeth; the poet never maketh any circles about your imagination, to conjure you to believe for true what he writes;he citeth not authorities of other histories, but even for his entry calleth the sweet Muses to inspire him into him a good invention—in troth, not laboring to tell you what is or is not, but what should or should not be.
She once said to me, “Nothing has really happened until it’s been described.” And she meant described in words. “Therefore,” she said, “write a lot of letters to your family and friends. Keep a diary,” she said. “Don’t let a day pass without recording it, whether anything interesting has happened or not. Something interesting happens every day.” she said.
Are you in the book? My place is on the threshold.
“It’s lack that gives us inspiration. It’s not fullness. Not ever having driven, I can write better about automobiles than the people who drive them. I have a distance here. … Space travel is another good example. I’m never going to go to Mars but I’ve helped inspire, thank goodness, the people who built the rockets and sent our photographic equipment off to Mars. So it’s always a lack that causes you to write that type of story.”
“A sentence is a subterfuge refuge refuse for an admirable record of their being in private admirable refuge for their being in private this in vain their collide.”
——Gertrude Stein, from “Christian Berard,” in Portraits and Prayers (1934)