PORTRAITS

AND REPETITION

Composition As Explanation I said nothing changes from generation to generation except the eemposition m which, we, Iive and the composition in which w,e ]:i.vemakestlI,e art wl!rk'h we see and -h,ear. I said in Lucy 'Church Amiably that women and ehildred change, ] said :iif men :nave notchanged even. if this is trae, 'Tbe thing' womellli

IN

and children have, But it reaUy is, of no nnportance

too:t is, importantts

the way that portraits of men and women and children, are written" by written ] mean made . .And by'
made I mean feltvPortxaita of raen and women and, ebildren are, diffeI'entl.Y felt in e,very generation and by a generation one means any period of time. One does, mean aNy period of timehy a generation. A generation can be anywhere from, two years to a hundred yean. What wasil:: somebody said that the only thing God eould not do was to make a two year old mule in a minute. But the strange thing about the realisation of existenee is that like 3i train moving there is no real realisation of it moving iii'it does not move against something and. so that is what a generation does it shows that moving is existing; So then there are generatiena and in a wa;y that too is not importantbecause, and this thing is. a thing to know" if and. w.e in America have tried to make this thing a real thing; n' the movement, that is allY movement, is lively enough, perhaps it is possible to know that it is moving even if it is not moving ag.ru1itst anytrung.

And. so in a way the Am.erlc:an way has been uotto need that gHueratioIDIs are existing. ]fthls werereailily true and perhaps it js, really true then I'eally and tru]y there is a new way of maldng portraits 'of men and women and children, tried to do Uris thing, It is, true that generations iostling that is A.nd. I~ I in my wa;1' have are Dot ofnenessity exmove:mentwitilln

ones, th.e;y too, alway.s. have the the! kiNd of fnverrticn general scheme is very

S,CeIII.e,

the same scene,

thatisnecessa.ry Iimlted

to. make a
evelr'Y'bO'd,y'sex.and. of :my

run

:perienc:e, every time one of the hundreds of times. a newspaper repeti.tion man makes fun of my writing be alway.s has the same theme" alway,s,

to

SalY if the! actual

a thing' is. alive enough. A motor goes l.nside of an au.tomobile and tile cal' ,g':oes.In shori this:gelleration has conceived an intensity of movement so grc'at that it bas not to be seen against something else to be known" andtherefore, tlris generation. does not connect itself with alllythlng, that is what makes this generation what it is and that is wlny it ].S Ame:l'kan, and thls: is very important in eoaneetien withportraits of ,anythin.g, I say portraits and nat ,d'eiSiCription ,and I win gr.'3lduaHy explain why. Then a~so there is the! impo.rtant question of repetitlon and is there any such thing. Is there repetition
1[
O'F'

that jis, if you )ike, Irepetition, tbat :is i:f you Uke therepeatmg that is the same tm:n.g
.having the, same theme', but once lstarted. expressing any tiling tills thing, there 'can he no t'epetition because the and if you

J

exp.r,essing

essence of that expressiJon is Jnalstenee, insist you must each time use emphasis use emphasis

and. :iii Y'O'U

it is Dotpo5sibJ.e while anybody is alive

that tll.ey shou]d use exactly the same emphasis, And
so let us think seriously of the ditIeren.ce ibetween repetition ana insistenee,

can bt~ interestedin a .story of a crime' because no matter .ho1.v often thewttnessss tell the
Anybody same

is there insU\Stenee.

story the inaisteaeeis

diff:e:rent. That is what

am 'inclined to. believe there is no slllch.thilll,g· as repetition. And really how ean there be. This is, a thing abontwhich I want you to. think before I go on teUing about portraits, Df any1ilrillng. 'Think about all the ,detedive sw,ries everybody reads. Th.e kiad of crime is the same. and the idea of the story is very often the same, take, for example a man, like, WallacH, he 31wayshas the same them'e, tat,e a man like Fletcher he always, has the sametheme, take any American

. makes life that the insistence! is, different, no matter how often you te]]l;he same stoTy' if there is a.ny-thing alive fill the telling the emphaeia is, diff:e:rent. It has to be,anybody can ]know fhat,
It is, V,el'Y like afrog

hopping he cannot ever limp

exact~y the same distance or the same way of hopping at every hop...A bird's singmg is perhaps the nearest

thing to' r,epetit:ioIillbut if you listen they too
th.eir insistence; That is the human expression

vairY

saying

166

167

the same thing and in insisting and we all i.nsist vazying the emphasising. I remember very well nrst beginning to be conscieua of this thlng:. I became conscious of these things, ][suppose ,amybody does when they first really know that tb..e stars are worlds and that everytldng is mevmg, that is the Hrst conscious :Feeling of necessary repetition, and it comes to one and it is vezy disconcerting. Then the seeond thing is when you firstrealize the history of various civilizations, that have been on this earth, that too makes one realize repetition and at the same time the dffferenee of insistence. Each civili.zatiolll. insisted :in its own. waiY before it went away, I remember the nrs,t time ][ really realized this, in this w~y was from reading a book we had at home of the excavations of Nineveh, but: these emotions although they tell one so much. and. one I'\eaUy never forgets them, after an are not in one's daily living, they are like the books of .Jules Verne terriblyr,eai t,erribly near hut 8tH[ not here. When I first rea.lly realized the inevitable repetition.

If they had to know ,aDythlng and. ,anybody does they naturaUyhad to say and hear .it often, anybody does, a:nd as theFie were ten .and eleven of thoem. they dmd have 'to say and hear said. whatever was said ,and anyone not hearing' what it was,thEl!Y said had to

hear what bad been. satd. That inevitably made everything said. often. I began then to, consciousJy Iisten to what anybody was saying and what the;y did say while they were saying what they were saying. Th.is wasnot yet the beginning of writing; but

eome

mn to

it was the be,ginning of knowing what there was that
made th.ere he no repetition. what happened had happened anything ham lames would live, calls the NO' matter how often any time anyone told

there was no re:}]etit:ion., This, is what Wil-

wm

to Live. It not nobod;y

And so I began to find out then by ]isooning the differ,encebetween repetition and insisting and it is a very bnportant know. thing to know". You 1isten as you

in human expressionthat was not repetiition Dut insistenee when I first began tohe really 'conscious of it was when at about seventeen years, of'age, I left the more or' less internal and solitary and eoneentrated life I Ied lin California and came to Baltimore and lived wUh a lot of my relations and. principally with, a whol:€ group of very lively little aunts had to know a.nything. 168 who,

T.hen therefs another thing-tha.t also. has s(llmeth:ing to do \Vith J!lepeating .. When aU these eleven liW.e: aunts were listening as theY' were talkinggraduaJ]]y some one: of them was no longer listening, When this happened it might. be that the time had come that ,a.ny one or one of them wasbeginllling repeating, that is was ceasing to be insisting or else perhaps it might be that the attenti.on of'one of some one of them had been. worn out 169

by adding something. What is the d.iff,ereuce. Noth· ing makes any diff,e'renee as ]oIllg as, some one is listening while they are tainting,., That is, what I gra,d.uaUy began to know. Nothing makes ,any difference as long as some one

things not when the things, themselves ing began.

are actually

existing' and this is therefore how my portrait writSo we have now, a movement lively enough to be ,a thing' in itself moving" :it does not :hav;e to move ,against ,anything toImow

is listening while they are tallking. If the same person does the: taJ:ting and the tistening why SOl rauch the better there isjustb;y so much the greater concentration. One may reaUy indeed say that that is the essence of genfus, of being most inteIilsely alive, that 'is being one who is ,at the same time talking and Ustening, It is really that that makes one a genius. And

that :mts moving, it does i
existing.
is

not need that there are generations phasis can never be repeatmg, thin.g in the same way'becaos'e is when U has beentaught. Row do you like what you have.

Then we bave ins~stence insistence that in its embecause insistence always alive and. ii it is alive, it is never saying a.nyemphasis. can never be the same not even when it is most the same that

it is necessary if you are to be really and truly alive it is necessary to be at once talking and listening,
doing both things, not as jii theria were one thing, not as if they were two thlng;s, but dioing them, wen if' you like, like the motor going inside a:nd the car moving, they are pari of the same thing. I said in the beginrringof saying this thing that if it werepossible that a movement were lively enough it would exist so completely that it would not be neeessary to see it moving against anything to know that it is moving. This is, what we mean by life and in my way][ hav,e hi.ed. to malre portraits of thiis thing' always have tried. always may try to. make portraits of
this thi.ng.

This is a question that anybody can ask ..anybody. Ask it. In asking it I began to make portraits ing an important thing to ask of anyone. That is, essentially portrait of anyone. I began to think about portraits. of anyone. If they are themselves inside' them what are th,ey and. what has it to do with what they do.. And does it make any difference what they door how they do it, does it make any difference what they say or how th.ey say it Must they be in relation with
any

of anybody.

How do you like what you have is. one wa,y of hav-

the portrait of any 'one" one

If thls existence is this thing is actually existing' there can be no repet~tion. There when there are deseriptioes
],8

on~y repetition

bein.g given of these'

one or with. anything in orderto

be one of whom

170

171

--------------------------~

one can. make a portrait ..I began to think a great deal about all these: things. Anybody ean be interested in what anybody does but does that make any difference, is it all important. Anybody can be ii.Iliteres.ted in. ";VM!; anybody says, but does that make any difference, is it at all impor-

about them will tell some one all about that thing aU aboutwbat is themseIDves inside them. and. I was then hoping comp~etely hoping that I was that ODe the one who would tell that thing. Perhaps I was that one, The:re IDS another thing that one has to think about, cIeady and about con.fusion. That is ,soln.ethlng about which I have almost as much to say as I h.ave about anything. The difference. between thinking dear~y and confusion is the Same diffe:rence that thelle is between repetition and .insist·ence. A great many think. that they how repetition when they see or hear it but do theY •.A great many trunk: t.hat they know confusion when they know or see it or hear it., but do tbey. A thing that seems very clear, seems very dear but .is it. A thing that seems to be exactly the same tWng may seem to he a repetition but is it. .All this caube very exciting, and. it had a great deal to do with portrait writing. As I say a thing tha.t is very dear may easily not be clear at aU,a thing that may be conf1!lsed may be very clear, But everybody knows that. Yes anybody knows that. It is H~e the necessity of kno'lring one's father and one's mother one's grandmothers and one's grandfather,s, but is it n.ecessary and. if it is can itlJe no Iesa easHy forgotten. As I say the American thing is the vitaHzy of movement, so that th.ere: :n.eedbe nothing agaiinst: wbi,ch the movement shows as movement. And itthls vital:1'73

tant,
I began to wonder about all that.
I began

that is about thlnkjng

have 3S portrait. I do not wonder so much now about that. I do. not wonder about that at all any more .. Now I wonder about other things, I wonder ff what has been done

to ... voader what it was that I wanted to a portrait, what there is that was to be the

makes any difference. I wonder now if it is necessary to stand still ·W Jive if it is not necessary to stand still to live, and! if it is if that is not perhaps. to. bea new way 00 write a novel. I wonder if you know what I mean. I do. not quite know whether I do.myself. I will not know until I have written that novel I have Just tried to begin in writing Four In America because I am certain that what makes Am.eriean

success is .Anlerkan failure,
about that. Some time I win explain that at great length but now I want to tell about how I wrote-portraits ..I wrote
I am certain

pertraitsknowmg that each one is themselves Inside them and something about them perhaps everything 1'7:2

I

ity is lively enough is there ~n that clarity any eonfusion is there in that clarity any repetition, I myself do not think so, But 1. am inclined. to, believe: that there is reaUy no difference between clarity-and confusion, just think of ,any Iife that Is alive, is there really any differ;ence between Clarity and confusion. Now I am quite certain that there is realIDy iii' any-, thing is afive no difference between clar:iity and confusion, When Lfirst began writing' portraits of any one I was not so SUI',e. not so certain of this thing that there is, no difference between clarity and. eonfusion. I was however almost certain tihen when I began writing portraits that if' anything ii.s alive there! is no such thing as repetition. I do not know that I have ever changed my mind about that. At any rate I did then 'begin the writing of portraits tell you now <dID there is to tell about that. I had of course written about el7erykind! of men and women in The Making of Americans. but ill writing portraits, I wanted not to write about any one doing or even saying anything, I found this a diiffi.cl!llt enough thing to begin. I remember very wen whathappened • .As JI say I had. the habit of concdving' myself as completely talking and Iistening, listening was talking and talkmgwas Ilstening' and in so doing I conceived what I at that time ealled the, rhythm of alliybody's personality. If Iistsning was t:dking' and. b...Udn.g: was listening then sod at the same time any little! movement

any little expression was a 'resembl.ance'. and. a resemblance was something that presupposed remembering, Listening and taJking did not presuppose resemblance and as they do not presuppose resemblance, tih~y do :not necessitate
as you see there was

remembering.

Already then

a c.omp:illicatiioIl! which was a bother to me in my conception of the rhythm .of a personality .. I have fOIr so many years tried to get the better of that the bett'er of this bother. The bother was simply that and one may say it is: the bother that has always been a bother to anybody f;or anybody eODceiving anything., Dillinger bother for boo. is, dead it was even a

As I say as I felt th.e existence of anybody later as, I felt the existence of anybody or anything, there

an

and! I will

was then the Iistening and!talking which I was doing' which anybody was doing and there were the Iittle
things that: made oi' anyone some one resembling same one." Anyone does of course QYany little thing b~ any nttle way by any Iittle expression, anyone does of ceurse resemble some one" and any one can notice this thing notice this resemblance and in so doing they have to remember some, one and this isa d.if:'"

ferent tWng from listening and talking'. In other words the making' of a portrait of anyone is as they are existing and as they are ,existing has nothing to do with remembering any one or anything ..Do you

174

175

see my point, but of course yes you do, You do see that there are two things and not one and if one wants to make one portrait. of some, one and not two you can see that one can bebothered completely bothered, 'b~ this. taiag, As I say it is something that has al ways, bothered, anyone. Funnily enough the cinema has offereda solution of thls thing, 13¥ a continuously moving picture of anyone there is no memo:ry of any other thing and there is that thing existing, it is in a way if you lil{e 'Oneportrait of anything not a number of them. [There' again yom do see what I mean, Now I in my way wanted to make portraiits of any 'OneJater in Tender Buttons I also wanted to make portraits of anything as one thing as one portrait and, although and that was IDlY trouble in the beginnmg I felt the thing: the person as [existing and as: everything in that p,erson entered, in to make that person little ways and expressions that maderesembling,

untU I had not man:y tru:ngs, but one frung. As I read, you some of the portr,aits of that period you win see what I mean. I of course did not think of it in tenus of the, einema, in fact I doubt whether ,at that time I had ever seen a cinema but, and. I cannot repeat this too. often anyone is of one's period and this our period was undcmbteCUythe period of th.e ciinema,and series producti.oll ..And each of us ill 'OU,l" own way a:re bound to express. what the world in w.hl,eh we are living is doing. You see then what I was doing in. my' beginning portrait writing and you also understand what ][ mean when I say there was no repetition. In a cinema picture ne two pietures areexaetly alike' each one, iis maeh difFerent f:rom the one before, and. se in. those 'early portraits ther'e was as I am sure yoU will realize as I read them to. you also as there was lin Th.e Makin.g of Americans no repetition. Ea:.ch time that I said. the somebody whose portrait .1I ,a;s: writw ing was something that something was just that much. dffferent .from what I had. just said that .somebmiy was, and :Jitf]e:b~ little in this way ill wJho~eportrait came info being, a pori.raitthat was not description and th,at was made by 'each time .• and I did. a.
great man~ times, say

J Dst that

it

was necessary fOir me nevertheless not to r-ealize these things as remembering but to realize the one thing as existing and there they were and. I was, noticing, well you do see that rt was a bother and. li was, bothermg very much bothering about this thing. In the beginning and I willl'ead you some portratta to show yOlil this I continued to do what I was doing in the Making of Amerieans, I was doing what the cinema was doing, 1 was making a continuous suecession of the statement of what

it" that .somebody was, some-

that persen was

thing, each tim.e there was a difference just a diUfer-, enee enough 80 that it eould go. on and be a p're.sent something, Ob yes you aU do understand, You underlI.'11'

stand this. You see th.at in order ito do fhisthere

must

be no remembering" remembering is relleUtion, remembe:rin.g Is also confusion" And. this too you will presently know aim about. Remembering is repetition anyb odycan Imowtltat. In doing a portrait of any one.• the :repetition con-

t:ition. iit would .not hlw e been ex:c:iting but it was exci.ting and it was not repetition. It never is, r never repeat that .is \v1ril!e, am writing:. I
l

As I saywl:iLat one repeats is the scene in. which one is acting,. the days inwhlch one, .:lislfving~,the coming and .going which one is d.oiEg, anything one

sists illl knowing that that one is a mill of a. one,
that the things he does have been done by others De him. tbat the thin.gs he says. have been said hy otaers like: him, but, and this is the: nnportant. thlng;, ther;e is ]]0 repetition in hearing and sa,yingthe timings he hears and. says when he is hearing and saying them. And so in doing-a portrait of him if it were Fllssible, to make thatpol·tra:lli.t a portrait of him .saying and. hearingwbat and hearing he says: and. hears whilehe is saying it there iis then in so doing' neither mem-

.i:s. remembeeing

ma

repetition,. but existing' as a hn-

man being, tbat is being liste·ning and hearing is n.everre:petitiou. It is,not .repetition if ft is tlmtwiIHcb are aci:u:aJllydoing because naturally each tiime the emphasis is diffe,rent just as the einesna has each time. a .s]ightly diffelrent thIng to wak:e it aU be movYOl1

ing. And eaeh one of us has to do that, .otherwise there ]suo existing .. As Gameo r>emarked, ~t does
.movle ...

no matter' how often that whick he .says and. bears is. heard! and said, Tills was the discovery Lmade as I talked and. listened. move and. more and. this is. what I didwb.eu I made porlraiits. of
o.ry nor repetition

So you see what I mean about tllc\S!eearly portraits

and tbte middle part of The .!It'l:akingorfAmericans .. 1 built them olD'little by littl.e eachtime J[ :said: it it
ehanged just a HtUe and then ''''hen I was oomp]etely emptied of lmowi:ng that the one of whom I was making a. portrait existed I had made a portrait lOne .. of' that

every one I know. I said what I knew as the:sr said
and heard what they heard and said. uutil
j[

had eozn-

pletelyemptied mYsell.if of ail they were that is .alltha.t they were in being one hearing and sayjng wbat tbey heard and said in every way that they heard and said anything. And this is the, reason why that what I wrote was exeiting .although those, that d:id. not reaUy' see what it was. tlllltlJlughtit was repetition. If it had been 'repe-

To go back to s:ome,thlng' I said that rememberin,g was the 'OnlY repetition, .aii!s/Q t1:rn.tl"emembering was, the only confusion. And j[ think. YOIU begin to see wha;t I me:a:nb!y' that~

No matter how oomp'licated anytJilng is, if it is not. mix.ed. up witl:u.remembering· there :is no confusion, but and that is the,trnubl>e with .agreait many SiO

178

179

called intelligent people they l:iI:llx up rememJiJering with taUdng and ]istoo[]lg, and. as a zesult they have theories about a.n;ytWDg but as remembering is Tepetition and eonfnsion, 3J1dbeing existing that ],s listening andltalking is aetion ,and.not repetition intelligent people although the;y talk as U they ]knew something

'I!lnden~:tand.,It makes an ,awf'1llllot

of diffiJl3e:rence: 00 And how

me, It is V'BrY exciting to have ,aU this be, >Gradually then Lbegan making portraits.

did I begin. 1Nbeu I first began writing' although I felt very stnJIIII.gl;yhat someimn,g: toot mad.ethat some one be t
some one Was, is'omethrm..gthat I must

are really confusing, because they are ao to speak keeping two. tlmesgoing at once, the repetition time
of' irHme;mbe:rtng and the actual time of talking but.• and as they are r,arely talking and Iisteming, that is the talking being listening ·and. the Ustening bemg bJldng, although they are clear~y saying somet'l:llng they are not c1eal'~y creating something, because they are because they alwsrs are rememberiJIJIg" they are notat the same time talking and listening ...De you understand, IDO' you any or all of you understand.

use as being

them, I naturally began to describe tihem as they
were doiE:g anything. In ,short I wrote, a &toryas,a story, that is the way I began, and slowEy [realized this eonfusion, a real: confushHlI!., hat in. writing a t story one had to be remembering, and that novels are soothing because so m~' people one may say everybody can remember almost anything., It is this. element ofreroemberi.ng that makes novels, so soothing.But
and.

toot

was the thing' that Lwas gradually

that is the way it ~s.And yOIll1 hear it even iii you do not .say it lin the w.ay I .say it as I hear it
Any'llllay

and say It, I say j[ never repeat while I am writing because: while I am writffing I am most completely", and that is. if you ]i~e JiJein,g: genius" [am most entirely and a completely listening -and talking, the two in oae and the one in two and that is, having ,comp~etely its own time and. it has in it no element of remembering. The:refore there: is in i.t no element of confusion, therefere there is in. it no element ·of repetition. Do
you

finding out listening and talki_IIDg at the same, time that is realizing the existence of Uvi~lg being' a:ctuaU;:v existing did. not have in it any element of remembering
and. so the tim.e of eristing was not the same as in the novels that were soothing. As I ,say .aJllnovels are ,sootmng because they make anything happen as they can happen that is by remembering anythmg. But and E keJ),t wondering as I tru~ed and listened all at once, I wond.ered is there any way of making what I knnweome out as I know it, come out not as remembering. I fou.nd. this very exciting,., And J[ began 'to make portraita, ] kept on knowing people by resemblances. that,

do you do yO'U really understand, And does, it make any difference to 180

yoU!

If you do

181

waspartly

memo,IY .and it bothered. me blllt I knew I

meat of' what, he was as being exciting' Umtwas citing., There
jj,s

ex-

had to Oloeverything and ] tried to do that so eompletely that ][would lose iit. I made eharts and charls,
of everybody who. looked like anybody until]

a world of differenee .and! in it there ..

ia essentia[J:y neremembering

g@t

SOl

And so I am. trying to tell. you what doblg 'Portraits, meant to :m.e,[ bad 00 find[ .out what it-was inaide any
O(Ulet nd by aD\y a
OOH ]

that I hardlyimew which ene I knew on the sweet

and whiich 'one ]ookedllil!:e them. I did thisllntU at
last any one looking like anyone importarrt
dSie had no im-

mean

'every'

one I had to :find.

out inside evezy one what was in them that was intrinsi.caIly excitillng and I had the:y said not by-what find it out hythe forget; ·of course I must nr' else
J[

portanee ...Itwaa not a t,lb.ingthat was any longer an

to. find out not by what

trung. ] knew completely how anyone
a thing one might knew as what

they did not by how much or any other one but J h;a,d to of' movement that there

looked Uke any other one,and. that became then only a praetical matter, anyone was Iiahle to do, but thls to. me then was no longer Interesting. And so I wentO,]l with portrait writing. I cannot tell you although I think I can, that .. as. I can read any numher ofsoothlng ing else soothes me I found interesting novels Infaet noth ..

fum",il:iiUle they reserehled intensity
J[

was Inside in anyone

of them. And of course do. not

was interested. in any one, lam. Of ,course I am. Interested in a;I1Y one ...An.d in anyone
must betake mysel:f to some entirely' I wfll, I must different occupation and I do. notthlnk

it not a thing that it was,

D.nd out what is moving Inside them that makes them. them,. and
J[ must

to do. And I think now you know why it was not an mterestingthing to do. We in thisperjod have not ~l:'!i"ed remembering, we have ~iving in in
moving bdng necessarily indeed something; so inten.s,e that e.xisting' is

find out how ] by the thing moving

exdteilly mside 1.0. me ean make a portrait of them,.

You can understand why I did it. so onen, why I
did iit in so.many ways why I say that there, is no repe-

that thlngthat we are doing. And so w.hat does. it really matter what ,any:is. indeed

tition because, and this is ahsolutely true, that the exeitmg' thing insid.e in any one if itt is really insjd:e
in them is nota remembered trun,g, if :it is r,eaUy inthing, iit is not a

body does: Th.enewspapers thing that is important

are fuflof what ~nybody of .an;y'body',s
It

does and .anybody knows what anybody does but tile

side in them, it is. not a,

CO]] .used

is the intensity

repeated thing .. And if I could in anyway of

and

j[

existence, Once more I remind you of Dillinger,

have done it in every way if I could make a J)ortrait

was not what be did that was excntiDg but the, excite-

that inside them without any descriptio.n. of

what

182

they are doing and what they are saying then I too was neither repeating, nor remembering nor being
in a eonfusien, You. see what I mean. by what I say., But I know you do. W:iH you see it as e~ea:!dywhen I read you some of the portraits that ][ have written ..Maybe you will. but. I doubt R. But :i.f you dOo well then. if you do you will see: what I have done and do do. A thing you all know is that In the three novels

likes more of the same and so. a great many novels are written and agreat many nevels are read telling
more of these stories but you. can. see the important things. written
YDU

do see that do enough.

in this generation

not tell a story. You can see that it isnataral

You begin definItely to feel that it had! toile that] wasto write portrasts as. I wrote them. I began to write them when I was about in the middle of The Making of Americans, and if you read The Making
o.f Ame:n.cans
YDU

"viUrealize why this was inevitable.
of

written in this generation that are the important things written in this generation, th.ere-is, in none of them a story. There is none in Proust in The MakiIilg of Americans or in Ulysses, And. this is what you. are now to begin to realize in this description ][ am giiv'ing you ofmaking portraits. It is of eourseperfeetb' natural that autebiographies are being well w:dtten and well read. You do see anybody cam see that so. much happens ,every day and that anybody nteraUy anybody can read or h.ea1" about it told the day that it happens .. Agf1eat deal
happens ,every da,y and. a~y day and as I say anybody

Iiterally anybody can heer or read everything
thing aheut anythlng: or ev,el"ythlng that every day just as it bas happened oris

001"

any:.,

happens bappening

on that day, You do see what that means, Novels then which tell a s,1Dory are really then more ef the same much more of the same. and oiEcourse anybody

anyone by saying' wihat I knew of that one as I talked and listened that 'One" and each time: tha:t I talked and listened that Que] said what I knew fhey were then. Tros made my early portraits and. some that I finally did. such as Four Dishonest Ones T6ld by a Description of WlIat They Do, Matisse and Picasso. and a lot. of' others" did as comp,lete:Jyas I theu could strictly did. this thing ..Every time Lsaid what they were I said it so that they were this thing, and.eaeh time I said wh.at they-were as they were, as ][was, naituraUy mere or Jess but never the same thing each time that I said what tJheywere I said. what they were, not that they were different nor that I was different but as it was. not the same moment which J said I said .it wilth a. difference. So finally I was, emptied of saying this "thing, and :80 no ]onger said. What they were.

I began writing the pertratts

184

FOUR

DISHONEST

ONES",

'I'old By a Description Of What ''Fhey Do. 'They are what they are. They have not been changing. Th~ are, what they are. Each one is what

that one is, Each is what

'each

portraits .of these places and these crowds, I did. Italians, and, Americans too Iike that, I continued to do as I had. done in 'The Malting of AmerIcans., 1 to;ld. exa,ctiy and completely each time of te.llilin.g what that one. is insid,e in them, As I told you in comparmg it tea cinema picture QUe second was never the same as the second before or after" MI-CAREME There was a man who said ene cenldreeogmae him when one saw him again by the scar on the end .of hlsnese were v,ery and under his eye but these scars and. one ,and amushim. because he
Was

I

is. They are not needing to be ehanging, One is what she is. She does not need to be ehanging, She is what she is" She is not changing. She is what she Is, She is not changing. She is knowing nothing ef not clumging. She is not needing to be changfng, What is she doing. She isworkmg. She is not needing to be changing. She, is working very well, she is not needing to. be changing: She has been, working very hard, She has been suffering. is not needing to be changing. She has been living and, working, she, hasbeen quiet and working, working;
she has been. waiting,

nttle ones almost notanrytbing

one would remember

She

who had been s.aying that he was a .man tired of working tired of being one being working.

that he WOUld. be very amusing; he 00u]dbe
Que listening
amiUsing-and

she has been suffeiring and and working, she has been working, she

ing by saying something that would make any begin blushing he was amusing but.. he said, he would bepolitely and! some bein,g
by him. He:

she has been watching

would not do such a thlnghe

has been. waiting
to be changing ...

and woOlrki:ng~. is not needing she 5,7. ef'

amused, 'by him were nOotfrightened

PORTRAITS. AND I'RA YERS" 1"AGE

.migh1i; ave been amusing to some who were at h the same time ones frl.ght,enedb:y WID. He migh:t be vezy amusing' to some who would never in ally way think that he oouldfrighteu anyone.
iPORTRAfi'S, AND PRAYERS.. 1"AGE

At this time also I wanted. to make porrraits the Galeries Lafayette,

places, I did. I did make them of the: Bon Mial"che. of of a crowd at Mi-Ca:reme, I have always liked what I didiwith

that one. It was

173...

comp]etely something. And there again in doing the
IH6

At any rate I did these portraits and they were very 187

~

J

exciting, they were exciting-to me and th.ey were: ,exciting to others \\'110 read. them. Then slowly once more I got bothered, after ,al~I listened ,and! ta]Jk:,edl but that was not all I did! m knowingat any present what anything time when
J[

them takes the form of suggesting in tlt'eir painting in place of having actually created the, tmI!l:gin itself that they are paiiI!lting,. In writing 'the thing that is the diffi,culty is the question of confusing' time" and this is the t]bjng that

was stating

anytrun.g

was, [was also lookin.g, and that cOldd
J[

bother,ed and still bothers ,any OB.ein
Later on in another writing] willtell

tm:s gene:r,atiolll.
about bow this
vocabula,ry .strictliy to

not be ,euti.rely Left out.

The trouble with including looking, as
]oo:king inevitah]y carried in. iitstminrealiz:[_ng ments and expression recognizing ing and :in forcing and as such. foreed resemblances,

have
move-

thing' that is, time has to do with grammar and tenses. But now I am keepmg matter of portraits and Jroepetition.

,a]ready to~.d you, was that I1nregard to humanbejnga
me: into,

tu.e

Lbegan tomake portr,aits of' things and enelosures that is rooms and places, because ] needed
tOI

and. so :!Eorcedrememberesused eonfusien
YOill

eoen1;8

rememhering

of

p]le:teJy face Ul:edifficl!ilt,y' of how to include what

present wiith ipa3t and future time" Do you see what I mean. But eertamly do. And so I 'began again ttl) do portraits it was not pertraits eertainly but this time

seen with heairing ,and.Hs'itenin;gand. at first if' ] were toindude a compH,cated listening ,aDd.talking it would: be 000 dooclllt to do. That is why painters paint still

of men and women and children, I

lives ... OIl,do sle·e Y why they de,
So I began !!,odmoveme1llt to do tltis thing, I

it was pertralts of ,anything and so I made portraits

tri6d

to inelude ,Ci}]or

of rooms, and. fo od and lever;ything beeaase there could avoid. this difficulty of Isu,g:gesting remembering'

and what

] did. is what YOlll have &]JI.

eitherir'eadi. or heard. of~a volume called Tender Buttons. I for a tim.e did not make portraits, because as I was tryiug 00 Jive in looking, and
~I}OkiDg was

more easily while: including hHJlkingwith listening and talking than if' I were to des,erJibe human beings. I wi.ll go a little more into that. 'This, is the great difficulty that bothered creating anything in trusgener.ation. a.nybody The painters

not to mix

'itself up with rememheri.n,gJ[ wishedm reduce to its minimum listening and talking. In Tend.er Buttons, I described anything, and I will read you a few things to show you wfuAt 1! did then"

nat1l11'·aJ~y were loo:kin,g, that was their occupation and they had. too to be ce.rtain that looking was not eon-

fusing itself withremenilJedng. Remembering' with 188

189

A DOG., A 1Liittle monkey goes lik.e a, donkey that means to say that means to. say that more sighs ~ast goes, Leave, \vith. it. A little mallikey goes like a donkey, TENDER BUTI'ONS, PAGE 26. Cloudiness what is cloudiness, it a mll, is iit melting ..
'lENDER BUTTONS, PAGE

exciting, And an artist an artist inevitably has: to. do. what iisreaUy exciting ..;That is what he is inside him,. that is what an artist rea1ly is inside rum, he is exciting, and if' he is not there is nothing to .any of it, And. so the excitement in me was then that] was to. of more and move include looking to make it apart

is ita lining, is 38.

listening and talking' and I d.id the portrait of Mabel Dodge,andl Susie Assado and Precioeilla and some others. But this was all after I had done Tender

A burtmended stick.a hurt mended cup.a hurt mended article of exoeptional relaxation BUd! annoyance, a hurt mended. hurt and mended is
SiO

Buttons.
Lbegan to wonder at at about this time just what ODe sawwhen one looked at anything really looked at anything. IDid.one see sound, and what was the relation between color and scund, did :it make itself by description by a word that meant it or did it make itself by a,word ~n itself ..All this time I was of course not interested. in emotion or that anything happened. I was less: mterested then in these things. than I ever .had been. I lived my life \vith. emotion and with'thln,gs happening but] was creating in my writing by simply looking. I was as; I say at that time reducing as far as it was possible for me to reduce them, talking and Iistening .. I became more and more 8C'{citea, about how words which were the! words that made whatever I looked ,at look like itself were not the words that had. in them any 'qna.lity' of description. This exerted me vel)'" much at that time. And. the thing that excited me so very much at that

necessary Abandon

that no. mistake is intended.
TENDER BUTTONS, PAGE

43. is bigger. There is

a garden

and. the hense

This is not smiling". This is comfortable. the comforting

of predUection." An open object

is 'estalblis.bing the loss that there was when the vase was not inside the place. It was not wander-

mg.
PORTRAITS AND l!'RAYERS" PAGE

rei,

You see what I mean, I did express what something 1jlir,a,cs,UUle by ta~kinganrlliistening a to that tiling, but o.f our at ,any that a great dea]b;y looking at that thing. This as I say has, been the great problem generation, moment so much h3!pp8nS everything although and anybody is happening knows that

things happening 190

interesting

are not reaUy

191

time and still does is, that the words, or

\ltOrdS

that

make what I Rooked at be itself were always words that to me v,ery ,exactly related themselves to that thing the thing at which I was looking, but as Ooften as not had asI say nothing whatever any words would do that described Acts must know do knowsomething masteredvery to. do. with what

aut ca11ing and very Ifte~y a pheasant Ing,

w.as call-

tuat thing.
of ,\ivhat I mean,

To whom went. Hehad a d.ream he, dream.ed. he heard a pheasant calling and most I:ill.kely pheasant wascalla mg, In time,
iPORT1UI.I'l'S AND' ,PRAYEIS" ]PA.GE 63.

Those of you that have seen Fo.W' Saints in Tlllee Of ceurse by the time Four Saints was written I had ml!lch what I was, doing then whem. I a great a great many portl"a,:l!ts of ways related words, th,ell, at the .. , , wrote T'euder Buttona. By the time: I WT'ote the iFour Saints, I had written and I had in hundreds

Thu~ fQit, OVeT' avel'Y considerable period of time sometimes a great many at atime and sometimes. one at a time and sometimes several at a time I continued to do. portraits. Aroundaboillt this tiim.e:I did a second one of Carl Van Vechten. one of Sherwood. Anderson, one of Coeteau and a seeond one of Picasso. They . were d,Uferent :from thosethat I had done in the beginning' al!ldveIY different from. thooe I did just af1!Jer doing Tender Bu.ttol!1S.These were less eeneentrated, tbey moved mor-e although niteily connected the movement was dlefiwith eolor and. not so closely con-

aentenees then paragraphs. to the thing at which I WaS looking and, I had also come to have happening any bother about resemblancesaadremembedna One of the thi.ngs as I said anxious a:t one time was the relation
it {)if descriptiion .. One portrait

same time looking and Ristening and talking witkout

that made me most
of eolor-tn the will read it to

words that ,exactly meant that but had no 'eRement in I did] you of Lipschitz di.d this color tb.ilng better than I had ever before been able to do it. LIPSCHI'TZ Like and like likely and, likely ]Jikeily and ~.ikeJy like and Ime. He had a dream. He dreamed he Ileania pheas ..

n.ected, with. talking and listening.
VAN OR TWENTY YE.ARSAF'TER:

A SECOND If'ORTBAllT OF CARl. VANVECBTEN.

Twenty years after, as much as. twenty years, after in. as nmeh as tw,enty years after, after twenty" years, and so on. It is it is it is it is. Keep it in sight aU right.
Not

to. the future but to the fuchsia ..

192

Tied .and untied. and that is all it, And as tied! and as beside .. and tied. Ued and untied and beside and as untied and. as tied. ,aJ!1d. as beside.
PORTRAITS ANDPRAYEB8,

there is about as beside and and as beside untiedt and as

but my business my ulthna,t.e Dusinessas, an arUst was :not M,th where the ear goes as it goes, but with the movement inside tbatis of the essence of its going. And had I inthese ratherbeautiful portraits I had been 'Writing had. I a little ~o\Stthis thing,,, ¥l.b.ether I bad 001' whethar I bad! not began a mittie to worry me

PAGE

15,7.

not reallyworry

but to be: thereinsid,e

me, had] lost

And then s.lowly it changed again, talking and! listening 'came slowly' again to be more iimpori:ant than that at which I 1;11'8::8 looking ..'Talking and Iisrewug became more impo:rtant again. but at the s:ame time that it was taUdng and listening it, had! w.ithln. itself an entire]!y differentemetion of moving, .. Let me tell you just what J did as I did this thing .. As ,a]ways happens one commences again, How-ever often it happens one does, commence again and, now in, my way I dideommenee again. I
",73S

a Eitde the €xeitemeut of having thisi.nside me. Had. I. I did not think r r,eally had but h.ad I. This brings; me: back: 1J(]loe more to the subject of

r-ejpetition., 'Fb.e compesition

we live in ,changes but esiSeD1tia.il1y

what ,happe1!lSdoes noteha:.nge .. We inside us dO' not.

change but our emphas,~s and, the :mome'nt in. -wldch we nve: ehanges, That is, iit is never the same moment it Is never the same, emphasis-at any successive moment of' eristing ..The:.nreaIly wlmt is repetition., It is very iinteltt'esting to ask and it is a very mteresting'tmng to know, If you tWliIk anything over and ov,er and eventually in connection with it you gom,g 00 succeed or' fail, and failing is repet:ffi.tion because YO'1!ll are or failing bnt any two memeats of thi.Jnik[:ngt over is not repetition. Now' you i succeeding
ruwaySi eith.er sueceeding

again hotheeed about something

and it had

to do as my bother always has had to do with a tWn,g being eontained witl!tin itself. I realizedthasgranted been finding tit.e words create the portrait listening and talking
J[

lOOKingand listening

and

talking being all happe.ning at one time and tl:J.atI had

that did create that thing did,
had been doing nevertheless ]

that was, the object of the' looking

see

that iswhere

I

d]i.IIe:r from a gl'ea:t ma.ny peopLe

had been losing something, something I had had, in The Making of America:ll.s and in Tender Buttona;

that is a Uling contained within itself,
As I say a motcr goes. inside: and. the c.argo'es on,

who ,S3;Y I repeat and. They do not" They do not thi.nk their succeeding .or failing is, what makes r,epetitiom., in otherwords th.ey do not think that, what'happens, makes Ir'epetiti,on but that i.t is the momoot '00 moment

194

195

emphasizing that makes repetition. Now I trunk the succeeding and. fa.iling is what makes. the repetition not the moment to moment emphasizing that makes, repetition. Instructively as I s,a,yyou aU agree with me beeause really in these days you all like crime stories or have liked. crime stoeies or i.f you have net you should have and, at any rate you do like newspapere oOrradio. or funny papers, and in all these it is the moment to moment emphasis in what is happening that is, interesting, the succeeding and failillg is, really not the thing that is interesting. Inthe pcrtraits that I did in that pericrd IOf which ][ halle just. been speakingthe later period ,considerably after the war' the strictness of not IDetting remembering mix itself with looking and listening and t~king which 'began with T.he Making of Americans and went
IOn

using a word. that was, not an 'exact word. all through the Tender Buttons and what I maycall the early Spanish and Geography and nay period finally resUJJ!ted.in things Susie Assado and Preciloc:illa ete, in. an extraordinary melody of' words ,anG, a melody of excitement in ilmowio,g that I had done this thing.

~me

this me]ody ][ wrote in Saint Remy these things I have just mentioned, Foue Religions, Capital Capitalis, Saints, in Seven and a great many other things, In doing these J concentrated. the internal. meledy of existence that I had learned. in relation to things seen into the feeling ][ then bad. there In Saint Remy of lig;ht and. ,air and air moving and being stm .. I worked at these things then with a great G.eal of concentration and as it was to me an entil'ely new way of doing it I had as a result a ve:ry greatly increased melody. This melody for a little while after rather' gOot the better of me and it was at

Then in concentrating

all through 'Pender Buttons and what came ]mme~ diately after, a1] the period of Geography and Plays this strictness perhaps weakened a little weakened a

J.ittle because and that in a way was all asl:.onismnent to me, I found that I was for a Htd.e;wlliJe very much taken with the beauty of the sounds as they came from me as I made th.em.

that we that I wrote thesepm:traits of which I have
just spoken, the second Picasso,

Veehten,

the Jean Ceeteeu,

the seeond Carl Van Lip.schltz, the Sitwells,

This is a thing that may be at any time a temptation. This temptation came to mea little after the Saint Remy period when I wrote Saints, in Seven, Four Religions. Capital Capitals. The strict discipline that ][had gillen myself, the absolute zefusal of never

Ed:ith Sitwell,J oe Davidson, quantities of portrasts .. Portraits after my coneentratad effort at Saint Remy toreally completely and exact]yfind. the word for the air and sky and. light and existence down there was relativelya simpls thing and las you. may say held these portraits in my hand and they came easily and beautifuUy and. trW,Y. But as I say] did ..begin to think

196

197

that I was rather drunk with what I had done. And I
am alw.ayg one to prefer being sober, ] must be sober. .. It is so much more exciting' to be sober, to be exact and concentrated and sober. So then as I say I began again. So here we have it. There was the period of The l\bki.ng of Americans portraiture, when by listening and talking
J[ conceived

Buttons becauseIt

was easier to do objects. than people

if you ~,ere just looking, Then. I be.gan to do play,s to make the lOOking have in it an element of moving and during this time I also did portraits that did the same thing. In doin.g these things I found tha:t I created! a melody IOf words that :fiILIed me with. a melody that graduaUy made me do portraits because perhaps I was getting easily QYfeeling the drunk
mruody of anyone,. And this-then. began to bother me

at eVlerymoment the existence

of some one. and I put down each moment that I had the existenee of that one inside in me until I had 'eompletely emptied mysclf of this that I had had. as a portrait of that one, This as I say made what has been. called. repetition but, and! you wirE see, each sentence is just the difference in emphasis that inevitably exists in the successive moment ointy containing within me the existence ofthat other one achieved. !by talking and listening inside in me and. inside in that one. These were the early portraits I did. 'Then this slowly changed to portraits. of spseesinclosed with or without somebody in them but written in the same way in the successive moments of my realizing them. As I said it was if you like, it was like a cinema picture made up of succession and each moment having its own emphasis that is its own difference and so there, was the moving and the existence of leach moment as it was in me. Then as I said I had the feeling that something shouks be included and! that scmethmg was looking, and SIO concentrating on looking I di,d the Tender

with m.elody

and I do :not like to be drunk ][ like to be sober and so I began again" I began again not to let the looking be pred,ominatJng :not to have the listening and talking be predo.minating but

to' onee more denude all this of anything in

order to get back to the essence of the thing contained within. itself. Tllat led me to some very different writing that I am going to tell about in the next thiing I write but it also led to some portraits that I do think: did do what .I was then hoping Would. be done that is at least by me. would. be done In tbiB way :if it were to be done by me. Of these there were quite a number- but perhaps two that did it the most completely the thing I wanted to do were podra:i.ts of Georg,e H1!l,gn.etand. Bernard Fay. I will read them to you and y01!l wiU see what I mean. All the looking was. there the talking and listening was there hut instead of giving what I was, realizing at any-and. e,very moment of them and 'of me until Lwas emplty of them I .made them contained witbin

198

199

-

____....;i

__

~

_

the thi:ng I wrote that was them. The thing in itself folded itself up inside itself like you might fold 3, thing
1I.p to be another thing

knew I had a melody and to be certain. of my melody that melody carried. me to. be sure ,aJ]ways by looking and listening and talking but melod:y did. earlY me and so as always I had. ence more to begin again and ][began again. Melody' s!hou~d.a.lwaYB be a by-product

which is that thing inside ]'U,

that tmng .. Do you see what I mean. If you think how yO'u fold thiugs ot make a boat or ,anything else out of pape,r 01' getting anything to be: inside anything, the hole m llLe douglmut or the_app1e, in the' dlllDjplingperhaps, you will see what
]I

it shOUld,

never be an end in itself it shomd. not be a thing by which you live if you. really and tmly'are one, who is, to do anything again,
J[

mean, I

and

SiO

as

:r say

I very exactly began

will try and tell a little more about thls thing and nOliv . I felt about this thi:ng and. how it happened.

bad begun again some ltime before' in working at

T.ms time I do repel'llt; in goiing over this, again" there was the portrait writing of Th.e Making' of
Americans period ..There was the portrait writing o.f

grammar and seatenees and p3iragraphs, and whal; the;y mean and at pla,ys and. how th,ey disperse themselves, in relation to anytbing seen, And soon] was so completely concerned with. these things, that melody, heauty if you like was OD.oe more as i.t shouIDd. lways a be a by:~product. I di.d at the same time as, I did. plays andzrammae at this time, I did do portraits in these portraits I felt an entir-ely dilfieren.t thing. How could a thing :iij' it is ,3) human being if it is anything be e:ntir-eIDy ontamed e within itself. Of COI!U",se it is, but is it and how is it and how did. I lknowtihat it is. Tb.is was, the thi[lgthatl found then te be: eemjplete-IyinteI"est-ing~ this was, the: thing I found th.en tn be co.mpletely exciting, Row was, anything eontamed w:it:i:nJn itself. I feU tbat I began then to feeJ any one to be inside them v'fry d.i:ff:erently than I had ever found anyone

the Tender Buttons period, .Mabel Dedga eame into that. There was. the podraitwriUng o.f the Geography
and Plays peried, which endedup with Capital Capi. tals, and then there was the portrait writing of the Useful Knowledge period, indudJng portrajjts of Sherwood And.erson and Car] Van VechteD. Of eouesein each. one of theseperfods there were maRY manypoir'traits writtenas I wrote portrafts 0:[ almost any on.e and as at all times I \vrite praetieally ,every day, to be

sure not long but practic:allyevery
write nOotIongbut

day and iii' you

praciieaiJlly every day you do get a

great de'al written. This :is what I do and. so I do do ,get a great deal written. I have written a g.reat many portraits. So then. as [said. at the, end of all tbis I had eome

to

200

201

be 'themaelves insid.e them. Thls, was, the time that I wrote: Lucy Church Amiably which quite definitely as a conception of what is soon was contained. by itself inside it, although there it was. a conceiving of what ] wasIeoking at as a landscape "\;17,a8 to be :i!tse][fnside i in It, it was I said to be like an, engraving and I think

you at all in this portrmt 'of George Hugnet that I will now read to you do you really see wbat I mean and in this porlrait of Bernard Pay. GEORGE BUGNET George Genevjj,eve: Geron:illmo straightened out without their finding it out. Grammar makes George in our r:ing which Grammar makes George :in o1!Iir'.ring., Is
3,91

it

it is. But the people in it were in it as contained
within the whole of it..I wanted however to do portraits where there was more movement inside in the portrait and. yet it was to be the whole portrait completely held within. that mside. I began to fee~ movement to be a different thing than I had feIt it to be .. It was to me beginning Ito be a Tess detailed. thing and. at the same tfme a thing that existed socompletely inside in it and. :it was it was so completely inside that really looking and listening and taUcing. were not a
W~l!Y' amy longer needed for me to know about thl,s, thing about movement being existing.

Grammal" is as dis3P'Polntednot disappointed. is not as Grammar

is as gTammar
is as

Grammar pointed,

disap-

Ge;orge is in OI!U" ring. Grammar appointed, In are rjng, Georg,e Genevieve in .ar,e ring.

is not is dis-

POR'l'R:AlTS AND lPRAYERS,PAGB

166.

BERNARD FAY Patience is amiable and amiablj'. What is amiable and amiably. Patienceds amiable and amiably. What is, impatience. Impatience is amiable and. amiably, 42. important me a tremendously
PORTRAITS AND PRAYERS, PAGE

An.dhow could I have this happen, let me read you the short portrait of George Hugnet and perhaps. you win see what I mean. It is all there, It really does not make any difference who George Hugnetwas or what he did. or what I said, all that was necessary was that there was something completely coutainedwifhln itself and being' contained.

Anyway this waste

within itself was moving', not moving in relationto anything not moving in relation to itself but just moving, I think. I almost at that time did this thing. Do

thing and. why. WeH it was an. important thing in itselffor me but it was also an important thing because it made me realize what poetry reallj' is.

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... .---... .-------.----------.....__~~----~-~~-==~-~

Tills has something

to do \vith what E.dgar A1jan

different soonetWng something that. I had been thinkhwgabout for' some time, and that had come out of some:

Poe is. But now to make you understand, that although I wasas usual looking listening and tallring perhaps more than ever at that time and leadmg a very complieatedand perhaps too exciting every day Irving; never the less itreally did not matter what I saw or said. or heard" or if you Iike felt, because now there was at last something that was more vibrant than any of all that and somehow some way I had isolated it and. in a was had gotten Itwritten. It was about that time that I wrote Four Saints. This wasall VHry exciting and it went o.nand I did.

poetry I had been wrrting; Before The Flowe'l"S Of'
Friendship Fad.ed Friendship Faded,

out that is too

long a story to begin now but it \1idHbe aU told in. Poetry and Gr.ammar. Howeve:r the important thii:Qg'was that for th.efir,st time in writing, I fe.l.t something outside me while I was writing, hitberio I had always had nothing but

what was inside me wlille I was writing. Besiidethat
I had been. going for the first time sincemy college days. to lee;tures. I had been going to hear Bernard Fay lecture about Franc(O-Am,erican thi~gsalilld I had. become interested in the relation of a Ieeturer to his about an audience beI suddenl:y began, tOi iit interestaudience, I had never thought tion which was a lecture but

not do a great many portraits at that time, I wrote a
great deal olf poetry a great many plays and. operas and some novels in which. I tried. again to do this thi:ng" in one or two I more or less did, one: called

fore not even when I wrote Composition As ExplanaII,OW

Brim Beauvais, I ve:ry often did, that is [ created.
something out of something without thing, do you see what I mean. adding any-

feel the outside mside and the ins~de outsideend was perhaps notso .e:xicitingbut it wasvezy ing. Anyw,ay it was quite exciting .. And so. I w.rote the Autobiography As I said way back,as

It does mean something I do assure you it does mean something although it is very difficult Ito say it in any way except in the way that I said. iit then, And. BOas I say I did notwrite a great many portraits at that time, .. Then slowly I got a little tired, all that had limen tremendously exciting" and one day then] began to write the Autobiograpny of Alke B. 'I'okias ...You all know the joke of that, and. in doing it I did an entirely

of Alice H.

'roklas and told what happened as. it had. happened, now everybody at any moment can know what it is that happens while it happens, What happens is, interesting but i.t:is not really exciting. And I am not: sure that [am not right about that. I hope
YOU

an think

I am right. about that. At

.any rate it is true there is something' much mere exci.t-

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illig than anythrng

that iIl.appens and now and .aJways

I am writing the portrait of that. lhave been writing the portraits of Four In America, trying to write Grant, and Wilbur Wright and!
Henry .Jrunes ,and Wasnil!lgton do othel~ thing;s, than they did. do so as to try to find out just what :ill.tis that

what happens has to do with what is..
]I

have finished that and now I am trying in these

lectures, to tel] what is by telling about how it happened that I told!.about what it ]s·, . I hope yOIl quite all see what I mean. Anyway I suppose inevitably I will go. om doing

POET.RY

AND

it.

GRAMMAR

206

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