Emulation: Gertrude Stein, I (Sitting, Resting, Working)

She sits alone in a chair quite unlike a chair. She sits in waiting, but waiting is not the chair, nor is the chair quite anything like a chair. The chair is sit upon by cloth, flesh and sinew, bone and blood, but the chair is still unlike a chair and she is still in sitting in waiting in the chair unlike a chair.
Is it much a chair? That is much to say, to say much. But what must a chair be to be a chair, or a woman to be a woman, as a man is a man or a child is a child? Why not a child a chair, a chair a man, a man a woman, and a woman a man? This is much too much to say, to say much. But she waits and sits and waits and sits in the chair quite unlike a chair for the man who is to come into the room from the room leading from the door nearest. But I am getting ahead of myself here.
She sits alone in a chair that is actually a bed. This bed is a bed, and explains why a chair is not a man, nor a man a woman, nor a woman a man, nor is a man a chair, nor the man in the room leading from the door nearest a woman. He is not paying attention. She merely sits in the bed unlike a chair and quite unlike a child, having established this series as fact. And she sits alone.
Her form deforms the form of the form of the fitted sheet beneath her bottom’s bottom and her sitting shapes the shape of the shape of the form deformed by her form. But, having sat on the bed unlike a chair unlike a chair for such a period, the deformed form of the form of the fitted sheeted beneath her patterned with the crossing of shapes so elegant and the shaped shape of the shape of the form deformed by her form discomforts her. She squints at her work. He, still in the room adjoining the room in which she sits, remains with his work as she squints at her work in the bed. Working in the bed he has made once twice or more and she countless.
He rests his hand on the counter. The counter glistens and gleams and glints in grease but She doesn’t know what he knows as he doesn’t know she what she knows of him knowing a falsehood. His brow too glistens and gleams and glints in the light but unlike the counter. He and the counter are separate. As is she. As is he. As is it. As they are, as are they, are they?    And yes I believe it so, but what is I and who is I is that? No, no know, know no.
She rests and works in the bed in the room adjoining his room adjoining her room she works. Perhaps unbeknownst to either be the looming of thought of the distance between them. In that one moment, in this one moment, they are both in moments unsynchronized and on display as two metronomes at two paces in two places so far and so far and so far. But now She rests and works and He rests and works and they think of here and there and where they are and will be and have been and want to be. Still they rest and work and rest and work. Presently, they rest.

I have recently acquired a copy of Gertrude Stein‘s Two: Gertrude Stein and Her Brother and I’m in love with it. The sheer individuality and duality established by her writing is phenomenal, and, though I am but a few pages into the piece, I felt compelled to try out her style myself. It’s hard to write like this, but fun. I note that I can’t kept it up like she can — she can go on for several pages with a very controlled pace and seemingly move nowhere in the action. I lack that finesse. However, I am happy enough to share this with you, and invite you to try your hand with the portrait style of writing. Hopefully, I can study her work a bit more and understand the language that’s happening.


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