GERTRUDE RELATED LINKS



     Ida A Novel
     by Gertrude Stein



     Gertrude Stein: The Language
     That Rises, 1923-1934

     by Ulla E. Dydo



     COOK BOOK: Gertrude Stein,      William Cook and Le Corbusier
    
by Roy Behrens


     Academy of American Poets


     Modern American Poetry



     PENNsound



 





Need advice? Want to talk? Email Gertrude

gertrude@askgertrude.net



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54.

Dear Gertrude,

My friend Sandy is in the hospital recovering from more knee surgery. Her recovery from the surgery on the first knee was very painful, and it took her a long time before the agony subsided. I think she was courageous to have an operation on the second knee, but I have been worried about her. It would be inappropriate for me to call her now, but I can send her an e-mail. I am wondering what I should say.

Burwell




Dear B. Well Knees,

The spoon, the spoon, that weight, a closet, a plate and all of the chase that makes silver so killing, a whole temper is sustained and the noon has more place than daylight. All the happy day is that way. A question is answer.

The danger to the minute is the time of day,
G



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53.

Dear Gertrude,

My boyfriend does not see the value of your work here. I take that as a sign I should beat him up. What do you think?

Love,
Potatoes



Dear Kookoo Sibzamini,

If they move in the shoe there is everything to do. They do not move in the shoe.

The language of education is not in position with the forehead that is returning looking. It is not overpowering. That is a cruel description. The memory is the same and surely the one who is not older is not dead yet although if he has been blind he is seeing. This has not any meaning.

Oh the bells that are the same are not stirring and the languid grace is not out of place and the older fur is disappearing. There is not such an end.

Certainly the beginning is the tender blessing that unfolding is not subduing. There is that presentment and the quiet is not so sound but that there can be a change of origin. There can be that elevation. This is not an argument. There is the work that has that place and there is a garden. A little taller bending does not hasten the erection of the grotto that has a fountain. That is so soon.

Oh I wish I was a fish and not an egg and then I could swim,
G



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52.

Dear Gertrude,

I was picking fiddleheads today, thinking of gathering mushrooms, of you. What are your thoughts on gentleness? Where writ?

Yours in gathering,
Jen



Dear Spora,

What is your name.

“Arthur,” he says.

“Oh yes said the man I know that name first name or last name.”

“Either or both,” says Arthur, and then he turns his back to them and stands still.

They all know what he wanted, he wanted to sit down. So they all sat down.

That this made me say,
G



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51.

Dear Gertrude,

For years now I have despised my work,
I sit at my breakfast table every morning, frozen in time, thinking about how much i despise my work,
when I eventually drag myself to my work, in an office, i sit there, frozen in time, thinking about how much I hate what it is that i am doing,
and on my way home, imagining what i'll be doing tommorow
i am only thinking of one thing.

What I would really love instead of work
is to watch legs.
legs of cities,
walking towards there desired destinations.

I would work on people’s transmissions
in their cars ( because it is something I am talented with doing),
for only 4 hours in the morning,
and afterwards, I would go find a spot somewhere,
anywhere would do,

and I would watch the hairs on bike legs, speed toward nowhere but a longer life.
I would admire feminine shaving techniques,
I would think about an old mans heart and how his heart never feels the same because one of his legs
is a cane that can’t bend like an athletic ankle, like it might have used too in 1937.
I would be jubilant with the thought of when, sitting outside at a bakery, a server would walk my coffee, and a pie, (out to me at my table), that they made with their own hands, as if that was the only purpose for hands, and the rest of there enjoyment of being a professional baker came from walking their home made goodies out to their hungry patrons.

I would literally sit on a beach surrounded by legs,
and forget about the water, because
unless whales had legs,
there would be nothing of interest to me about them, really.
the only problem is,
is that i am stuck
frozen in time
hating my
job that
i can't
walk
out
of.

Brett



Dear Athletic Ancle Hair,

It made you all kind of real you have always been real but this was a different real and a very nice real but then that is as it is. And now she has gone but I am hoping that we will see her again later as we are staying on in Paris a little later than usual this spring and a beautiful spring it is. Hyacinths turn into wisteria alright. Are you ever to see yourself in France won’t you come and otherwise. Working a lot as usual some very funny little narratives and quite a lot of them. At the same time a very great grief as my very very dear friend Juan Gris is dying.

Always,
G



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50.

dear gertrude,

i am wondering if you might offer any advice for a new parent?

with love,
danielle



Dear Bringing Forth,

A Conference

English Prof. “Yes that is a very good stroke. Twittering birds always remind me of spring. Ah but let me see your description is of autumn, yes birds do twitter in autumn too not so much perhaps.”

Meek girl student. “But excuse me sir my description is of mid-summer.”

Professor undaunted. “Mid-summer, why yes, yes of course birds always twitter in mid-summer.”

How many minutes go around to make a second,
G



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49.

Dear Gertrude,

I have a new friend, who I really enjoy most of the time, but as I get to know her better it seems that she sees everything as a problem. Tonight she said, “I really just enjoy sitting around, thinking about things, and eventually over-thinking things. It’s what I do.” I on the other hand, don't like to think about things but would rather be out in the world doing things while barely thinking about them. How can I reconcile these differences?

Sincerely,
Chilled out Chelsea



Dear Most Chill,

Ordinarily in writing one writes.
Suppose one is writing. It is to be presumed that one knows what it is to be that which one has written.
Suppose one is writing. It is to be presumed that one does not know what it is to be that which they have written.
But in any case one does write it if one is the person who is writing it.
Supposing you are writing anything, you write it.
That is one way of writing and the common way.
There is another way of writing. You write what you intend to write.
That is one way. You write what you intended to write.
There is one way. Is it another way.
You write what has always been intended, by any one, to be written.
Is there another way to write.
You write what some one has intended to write.
This is not an uncommon way of writing.
No one way of writing no way of any of these ways in an uncommon way of writing.
Presumably a great many people write that way.
Now when the same person writes in two different ways that is to say writes as they write, writes as they intended to write, writes as any one intended to write, writes as some one intended to write why does it sound different why does each writing sound different although written by the same person writing. Now why does it sound different. Does it sound different if the words used are the same or are the words used different when the emotion of writing, the intention in writing is different.
That is the funny part of it. That all this is the thing to know. Funny is used in the sense of diverting and disturbing.
There are then really there are then two different ways of writing.
I say this not to explain but to make plain.

It’s who I am,
G



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48.

Dear Gertrude,

I like my boyfriend's beard both short and long. If given one choice, I prefer it longer but I don’t want him to think he has to please me with its length. Is it OK to tell him I prefer it long, even if its perfectly fine any way?

Thanks,
Beard not Byssus, CT



Dear Pinna Nobilis,

Let alone a narrative.
Regular regularly let alone a narrative.
A narrative aimlessly.
Let alone a narrative aimlessly.
Let alone a narrative aimlessly regular regularly let alone a narrative.
Let alone a narrative aimlessly.
Let alone a narrative aimlessly.

Candidly,
G



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47.

Dear Gertrude,

I’ve recently relocated to a stuffy place. Is it better to be crowded in or crowded out?

Signed,
Tuft



Dear Tuffy,

It is a good idea to stare. We had our photographs taken, not intentionally but we happened to have seats in the front row near the arena and so when a photograph was taken we were in it.

In a circle,
G



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46.

Gertrude –

I have been trying to reach you all day. I know you have been sitting at Monsieur Picasso’s. He is a great genius and you know I have only met three in my life. The others being Monsieur Whitehead and you. I was hoping you could use your genius to stop by Mouffetard and select some eggs. Could you? Matisse will be dining with us and Helene wishes to resentfully serve them fried. Purchase enough for dessert. I am making brownies.

– Alice B.



Dear C. D. D.,

Pardon the fretful autocrat who voices discontent. Pardon the colored water-color which is burnt. Pardon the intoning of the heavy way. Pardon the aristocrat who has not come to stay. Pardon the abuse which was begun. Pardon the yellow egg which has run. Pardon nothing yet, pardon what is wet, forget the opening now, and close the door again.

Sweetly,
G



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45.

Dear Gertrude,

Do you think I should take down my facebook profile? Yes or no?

Thank you,
Open Book



Dear Open Face,

There are kinds of them that to is say there are some who look like others quite look like others. All of them are of that kind of them, all who are ones who look like some, all of them are together that kind of them. There can be lists and lists of kinds of them. There can be very many lists of kinds of them. There can be diagrams of kinds of them, there can be diagrams showing kinds of them and other kinds of them looking a little like another kind of them. There can be lists and diagrams, some diagrams and many lists. There can lists and diagrams. There can be lists.

It is a simple thing to be quite certain that each one is one being a kind of them and in being that kind of a one is one being, doing, thinking, feeling, remembering and forgetting, loving, disliking, being angry, laughing, eating, drinking, talking, sleeping, waking like all of them of that kind of them.

Water did not make all the best curves,
G



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44.

Dear Gertrude,

Please help! Whenever my friends move away, I seem to lose all contact with them. What’s a gal to do, stranded in a “no there there” place?

Signed,
Babs in Buffalo



Dear Buffalo Wings,

There may be two ways to spell parlor parlor and parlour. Parlour is the old way still preferred by some and parlor is not a new way but a fairly old way preferred by any one. Most of them always spell parlor parlor.

Any one can remember anything.
A parlor is not a place to remember anything.
A memory is not the same as remembering anything.
She knows.

There is no difficulty in remembering parlor. A parlor.

There is nothing untidy in a whole house.

As likely as,
G



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43.

Dear Gertrude,

The less I do, the happier I am. Why?

Signed,
One Year Off



Dear One Year Off,

I want to be lovely and then. I want to be lively and then. I want to be lively and then I say isn't it fortunate that we
were early, that I was severe that I meant all I said. I want to be early and lively. I want to be especially adapted. I am clean and concise and I estimate everything at their value.

I am not in a hurry.

It was natural.
It was natural.
It is natural to me.

G



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42.

Dear Gertrude,

Do you have any words of wisdom on sound . . . and how it functions in / under voice in your writing?

Signed,
M



Dear M,

The difference between thinking clearly and confusion is the same difference that there is between repetition and insistence. A great many think that they know repetition when they see or hear it but do they. A great many think that they know confusion when they know or see it or hear it, but do they. A thing that seems very clear, seems very clear but is it. A thing that seems to be exactly the same thing may seem to be a repetition but is it. All this can be very exciting, and it had a great deal to do with portrait writing.

But everybody knows that. Yes anybody knows that.

G



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41.

Dear Gertrude,

I have 2 problems somewhat related to the same friend. I would really appreciate your advice. A good friend of mine bought a vintage silk wedding dress on-line. She had asked me what I thought previously before bidding and I told her it was beautiful and that she should go for it. After the dress arrived, came the complications. For her personal reasons, she decided not to keep the dress and had offered it to me for my wedding. The dress has a stain in the front. I wasn't sure about taking the dress, but would consider if the stain was removable. I had the dress assessed with a professional drycleaner, who told me that the discoloration in the front was irreversible. So I declined. She is able to get a full refund from the seller, however she is asking me to send off the dress and pay for half of the shipping costs. She thought it was fair to share the return shipping costs as she would have returned the dress within the 5 day limit. She only kept it because I had decided that I may have wanted it. She also was taking care of all the correspondences with the seller on behalf of me. She is also too busy this week to make it to the post office. However, my days have been extremely busy as well.

Am I right to feel like I shouldn't have to pay for the return shipping? I don't want to quibble over a few dollars, but I was shocked at the request, as I would not have dreamed to have done the same in return. I would be happy to reimburse her in some other way for her inconvenience, but I feel like she should be the one to deal with returning the dress.

The other event concerns a lingerie party I was throwing for her. The day before the party, she wrote me to say that she will be declining.She had found out 2 days prior that she was 2 months pregnant and will be flying out of the country immediately to join her fiance where he lives. I'm not sure how to respond to this. I am both upset at the amount of work, time and energy has been set aside for the party and at the disregard for her friends that were throwing the party for her. I understand that there are other priorities for her to focus, but I am upset at this seemingly self-involved behaviour that has been the the cost of our friendship. I feel like I've been treated as a matter of convenience.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, kind regards,

E, New York City



Dear E,

When she came she knew it not only
Not by name but where they came with them.
She knew that they would be while they went.
And let us think.
She knew that she could know
That a genius was a genius
Because just so she could know
She did know three or so
So she says and what she says
No one can deny or try
What if she says.
Many can be unkind but welcome to be kind
Which they agree to agree to follow behind.
Her here.

This is how they asked in a minute when
They had just changed a pencil for a pen
Just as I did.

G



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40.

Dear Gertrude,

Have you been reading what Janet Malcolm has been saying about you in the columns of the New Yorker and now, in a neat little book everyone on the subway seems to be reading? So you and Alice lived through the second World War tucked away in France, while every other Jew in the country was being rounded up and trundled off to death camps, because—well, why Gertrude? How did this happen? Is Ms. Malcolm the malcontent she seems? Or is there a grain of truth in her stone throwing?

Kevin



Dear Subway Reader,

Some men and women are inquisitive about everything, they are always asking, if they see any one with anything they ask what is that thing, what is it you are carrying, what are you going to be doing with that thing, why have you that thing, where did you get that thing, how long will you have that thing, there are very many men and women who want to know about anything about everything, I am such a one, I certainly am such a one. A very great many like to know a good many things, a great many are always asking questions of every one, a great many are to very many doing this with intention, a great many have intention in their asking, a great many just have their attention caught by anything and then they ask the question.

Que voulez-vous,
G



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39.

Dear Gertrude,

How do you describe the difference between “pictures” and “images”? And how do you distinguish taking photos from making photos?

Grateful for your point of view



Dear Distinguished,

Once a picture dealer told me and he knew that there were sixty thousand people in Paris painting pictures and that about twenty thousand of them were earning a living at it. There are a great many oil paintings to be seen any year in Paris.

In negative space,
G



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38.

G-Money,

Is the grass always greener on the other side?

Yours,
Green Thumb



Dear Thumps-Up,

I am slowly spreading very slowly spreading to them, I have not yet spread to them, not at all reached to them yet in spreading out in knowing being in groups of men and women.

With heroic patience,
G



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37.

Dear Gertrude,

I was recently at Esalen and I wonder what you think of the human potential movement, integrative psychology, and new age thinking in general. As a literate person driven primarily by interests in language and perhaps narrative, I am often disappointed at the level of language, metaphor, or poetics in general in these areas. I would imagine your reaction to be similar. Or perhaps not?

Matias



Dear New Age Disappointment,

I may know very well the meaning of a word and yet it has not for me completely weight and form and really existing being. There are only a few words and with these mostly always I am writing that have for me completely entirely existing being, in talking I use many more of them of words I am not living but talking is another thing, in talking one can be saying mostly anything, often then I am using many words I never could be using in writing. In writing a word must be for me really an existing thing, it has a place for me as living, this is the way I feel about me writing.

In residence,
G



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36.

Dear Gertrude,

Every time I go to an art gallery to look at photographs hung on walls, I have an overwhelming drive to find out where each photograph was taken. I have gone so far as to suggest that each one be cross-referenced on a map which hangs also in the gallery. This tends to be poorly-received by my fellow patrons and by gallery curators. I am concerned that my attachment to the precise geographical origin of the photographs is perhaps impairing my experience of the work and that I may not be using all of my brain when I look at it. Can you help? Is this an unhealthy obsession? How does one look at a photograph?

Sincerely,
Mapless in Melbourne



Dear Overwhelming Drive,

The relation between the oil painting and the thing painted is really nobody’s business. It could be the oil painting’s business but actually for the purpose of the oil painting after the oil painting is painted it is not the oil painting’s business and so it is nobody’s business.

Here & here,
G



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35.

Dear Gertrude,

How giant is a giant catfish, if a catfish could indeed be giant while residing on a t-shirt?

Fishin’ Fred



Dear Giant Fred,

If there is a river and it is known that it is filled with water and that the water is flowing faster when there is more water it is very easy to see that more water flows into the river and that the water in the river is running along faster very much faster as there is very much more water in the river.

And then likeness.

Diminutively,
G



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34.

Dear Gertrude,

I have the following questions:

1)
Why do architects act like architecture is some specialized knowledge. We all know architecture: we live in it and make it and remake it. I have made my house an obstacle course of needless locks and corners—my injuries remind me I am alive, that I am no machine and refuse the factory.

2)
Are there images of this war? I can't see this war. I can't see what I am firing at. I am blind. In my dreams, I construct the war by substituting bits of my memories and housing shingles from my neighbors.

3)
I think academic "Post-Marxism" is so much shuffling after crumbs. I think—perhaps because of the necessary backwards projections on the mess of China and Russia—that people forget Marx was addressing the fundamental need for food, water and medicine—not for lots of books and posturing. You think?

Hungry and Burnt and Hung Over in Altadena
xxxxx



Dear Stampede,

1)
A little sign of an entrance is the one that made it alike. If it were smaller it was not alike and it was so much smaller that a table was bigger. A table was much bigger, very much bigger. Changing that made nothing bigger, it did not make anything bigger littler, it did not hinder wood from not being used as leather. And this was so charming. Harmony is so essential. Is there pleasure when there is a passage, there is when every room is open. Every room is open when there are not four, there were there and surely there were four, there were two together. There is no resemblance.

2)
War is this, this war, war is this and this war and this war. This war makes slate useful and just in this way, a slate when it is rubbed is gray and when it is polished is black this makes unpleasant to the eye and the ear. She said are they scarce and he said they are scarce. He said are they at all scarce and she said they are not at all scarce they are not as scarce and he said they are not as scarce. After that an occasional return.

3)
Dick was the first poodle I ever knew and he was always welcome, round roly-poly and old and gray and lively and pleasant, he was always welcome.

He had only one fault. He stole eggs, he could indeed steal a whole basket of them and then break them and eat them, the cook would hit him with a broom when she caught him but nothing could stop him, when he saw a basket of eggs he had to steal them and break them and eat them. He only liked eggs raw, he never stole cooked eggs, whether he liked breaking them, or the looks of them or just, well anyway it was the only fault he had. Perhaps because he was a black dog and eggs are white and then yellow, well anyway he could steal a whole basket of them and break them and eat them, not the shells of course just the egg.

G



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33.

Dear Gertrude,

Our cat keeps us up at night by demanding food and / or affection sometimes five times during the night. Our sleep is going to hell. He's an old cranky animal and we're very fond of him, but he's making us cranky. Do you have any suggestions?

Many thanks.
Grumpy



Dear Grippy,

Expect to rest just as well expect the rest just as well to expect and to rest as well to rest as well to expect to rest to rest as well to expect it as well.

After that he attended to everything and after that he attended to everything and after that he had attended to everything.

You know how soon.


I asked her if she would care to go. No, she said no. I told her I told her so I told her how I know and I told her that so and so and so and so and she said it was just as well. In this way they had to begin to count. Is any one annoyed when they begin to count. In this way after and before.

G



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32.

Dear Gertrude,

I have a terribly painful hang-nail. Do you have any interesting remedies for how to curb this small, yet somehow very large, ailment?

Tender-tips



Dear Spits,

Do not tremble. If she had an institution it is the one excluding the mother. Her native land is not beautiful. She likes the poet to mutter. He does. The olive.

We had that impression,
G



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31.

Dear Gertrude,
 
My baby looks like you or at least the you that I think is you the you that I used to know if it is indeed you.
 
Katie



Dear "Katie,"

I find this a very pleasant pencil. Do I. I find this a very pleasant pencil. Do I find this a pleasant pencil.
How to give soldiers fresh water.
How do you.
You use the echoes.
Dear Jenny.
I am your brother. Nestling.
Nestling noses.
My gay.
Baby.
Little.
Lobster.
Chatter.
Sweet.
Joy.
My.
Baby.
Example.
Be good.
Always.
Six.
Seven.
Eight.
Nine.
All.
The.
Time.
Me.
Extra.
My.
Baby.

Why not however,

G



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30.

Dear Gertrude,

My troubles are few but real. Having only a few makes them more real. To me. Or so it seems. Or so I wish it were. Okay, anyway, these advice columns torque me because what good is it for me to pretend that I have only one problem and it can be fixed—by you. Ha! Okay, I’m feeling out of sorts, but it’s not my fault. My “friend” came to me to the other day with a problem and I told him to come back when he had a big long list of problems. I’m ambitious that way. (His dog was depressed and he blamed himself.) Sometimes I think my problem is that I encourage people to tell me their problems. It’s self-serving though. I feel sure they will be nicer to me if they can just relax and not worry so much about everything. Benefits! So many benefits! I admit I’m not qualified or anything, but who is—who is?

With little hope of an answer,
20/20 Vision



Dear Corneal Meal,

This is a perfect example of satisfaction.

By prearrangement,
G



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29.

Dear Gertrude,

What is your opinion of “12-step” groups? Do you think they work? Have you ever been to one?

Signed,
Woman In Recovery



Dear Wrecoverer,

The difference between recent and neglect. The difference between neglect and sent and sent and center. The difference between neglect and center, the difference between recent and neglect and neglect and center the difference between recent and neglect and center. The difference between recent and neglect and center.

It was at once at once and it was at once,
G



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28.

Dear Gertrude,

Would you mind talking a little bit more about American art, and what you mean by being an American.

Thank you,
Wondering American



Dear Wandering American,

This may astonish you a little but when you realise how easily Mrs. Charles Bianco sells the work of American painters to American millionaires you will recognise that authorities are constrained to be relieved. Let me tell you a story. A painter loved a woman. A musician did not sing. A South African loved books. An American was a woman and needed help. Are Americans the same as incubators. But this is the rest of the story.

He became an authority,
G



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27.

Dear Gertrude,

Last night I wrote a line of a poem, well, half of a line, but I can’t seem to finish it. What should I do?

M



Dear W,

Some people like a big country and some people like a little one but it all depends it depends whether you can wander around a big one or a little one. Wandering around a country has something to do with the geographical history of that country and the way one piece of it is not separated from any other one. Can one say too often just as loving or tears in one’s eyes that the straight lines on the map of the United States of America make wandering a mission and an everything and can it only be a big country that can be like that or even a little one.

Now,
G



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26.

Dear Gertrude,

What is the meaning of life?

Signed,
Philosopher



Dear Strophe,

Men and women have many of them in them their individual feeling—their way of feeling it in them about themselves to themselves inside them about the ways of being they have in them. Some have almost nothing of such a feeling in them, some have it a little in them, some have it in them always a conscious feeling, some have it as a feeling of themselves inside them, some have it as a feeling of themselves inside them as important to them, some have it as a feeling of being important to themselves inside them as being always in them, some have it as being important to the others around them, some have it as being inside them that there is nothing existing except their kind of living, some have it that they feel themselves inside them as big as all the world around them, some have it that they are themselves the only important existing in the world then and in some of them for forever in them—these have in them the complete thing of being important to themselves inside them. Some have it as a feeling of being important in them from things they are doing, from religion in them, from the way of living they have in them, from the clothes they have on them, from the way they have of eating, from the way they have of drinking, from the way they have of sleeping, some from the way loving comes out from them, some from the way anger comes out of them, some have a feeling of importance in them from the kind of living they have in them and the others around them have in them, there are many ways of having a feeling of one’s self inside one, there are many ways of having an important feeling in one, there are some who have in them a feeling of importance inside but not a feeling of importance of themselves to themselves inside them then, there are some who have inside them an important feeling in them but not an individual feeling in them, there are many ways for men and women to have themselves inside to them.


Turning,
G



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25.

Dear Gertrude,

I've read that our right and left ears are configured to receive and process sounds differently. For instance, the right ear is attuned to receive the sounds of speech and language, which are recognized and interpreted by the left hemisphere of the brain, and other "abstract" sounds like music, singing, and ambient noise are received through the left ear, which are recognized and interpreted by the brain's right hemisphere. I am wondering if our bodies do something similar visually: are our right and left eyes also specially equipped to receive and process the different frequencies of color? For instance is the left eye better attuned to receive the "low" wavelength frequencies (blues, violets) while the right eye is more attuned to the "high" wavelength ones (reds, magentas)? Or, perhaps one eye is designated to receiving hue while the other is specialized for contrast or value, and thus, depth? What about movement and the sensing of velocity? Does one side of the body sense spatiality while the other senses weight or gravity? If both the ears' functions are divided in this way, where each one's purpose is directed to the opposite side of the brain, and our eyes, like the camera obscura (or the other way around), invert what we see only for it to be re-adjusted and interpreted inside the brain, then do we 'really' experience everything as backwards and upside down until our brain sorts it all out for us—flipping, reversing, inverting—? How do we know if / how we really experience anything?

Signed,
Waiting for an Experience



Dear Abstract,

Identity is funny being yourself is funny as you are never yourself to yourself except as you remember yourself and then of course you do not believe yourself. That is really the trouble with an autobiography you do not of course you do not really believe yourself why should you, you know so well so very well that it is not yourself, it could not be yourself because you cannot remember right and if you do remember right it does not sound right and of course it does not sound right because it is not right. You are of course never yourself.

Biographically,
G


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24.

Dear Gertrude,

I'm "uncomfortable." To be more specific, my skin is reacting unfavorably. In other words, my outer self is moving against my inner self and my eyes shut and open by themselves. My teeth are shifting or changing color, I can't decide, but it seems that they are colliding with one another like never before. My hair is unevenly curly—or maybe it is just "starchy," and my left arm became longer than my right arm when I wasn't looking. Basically my whole body is pulsing in what seems to be the wrong direction—diagonally, magnetically. Occasionally I feel a "watery" sensation flowing down on the inside of my skin, in that thin space between the bones and skin. When I tell jokes, people just look at me. I have a recurring sensation inside my neck, like a rubberband, that snaps at me for no reason—even when I am just minding my own business! I want to get in the elevator and push the buttons all by myself. Maybe I should see a doctor, but I wanted to ask you first. Anyway, what kind of doctor would I see?

Signed,
Misread



Dear Miss Red,

If you were born in winter and had your birthday in summer. If you are old in autumn and had your spring altogether, if you were earnestly wishing that ease was outside and that glances and stores and windows and rubber were all useless and prayers were addressed to you how would you answer.

He answered them,
G


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23.

Dear Gertrude,

I am interested in writing the autobiography of my husband. He says such a thing can't be done, but I do. In such instances where biographies aren't accounted for and documentaries are out of the question, how can one begin to write?

Thanks for listening,
B for Dudley



Dear Budley,

There is no use in finding out what is in anybody's mind. There is no use in finding out what is in anybody's mind.
What is the difference between sentiment and romance.
What are they leaving they are leaving.
There is some difference between sentiment and romance. Sentiment is awhile and weighed as a weight and romance is made to be authentic. There is no use in knowing why they went because it is made important by their means.

Adjoining,
G


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22.

Dear Gertrude,

Why do old people like lemon meringue pie so much?

Signed,
Wondering in Wilmington



Dear Will,

Custard is this. It has aches, aches when. Not to be. Not to be narrowly. This makes a whole little hill.
It is better than a little thing that has mellow real mellow. It is better than lakes whole lakes, it is better than seeding.

It is a winning cake,
G


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21.

Dear Gertrude,

I feel like I have no personality. Someone called me "Zelig" last night at a party, and I laughed it off, admitting that I like Woody Allen just as much as the next guy—but deep inside I felt ashamed—and panicky—because I knew it was true. I always blend in to my surroundings depending on who I'm with, and where I am. I think I am just an empty shell with a video recorder inside, playing back everything that looks at me. Am I really just a mocking bird, mimicing my surroundings? I feel like I am a mechanical monkey, a wooden leg, a calcium deposit. Please help me in my crisis.

Beside myself,
Who



Dear Whom,

Chapters when they need a monk, monkey see monkey do I do what I see her do need to do. Monkey see and monkey do and to see to it that I do what she sees me says she needs to have me see to. Monkey see monkey sees monkey does monkey does monkey sees monkey sees monkey does does do what monkey sees monkey does do and do do. Monkey see monkey does monkey sees monkey does monkey sees monkey does monkey does monkey sees. Adding sees to sees. Does do.

G



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20.

Dear Gertrude,

I have a confession to make. Today I was in my local drugstore, trying to purchase a get well card for my step-grandfather who is in the hospital with jaundice. The clerk seemed to be yapping on her cellular phone instead of cashing out customers. I was feeling ignored and impatient, and the line took forever . . . I slipped the card into my purse, and walked out of the drugstore. Do you think my action is justified?

Signed,
Dishonest in the Drugstore



Dear Dishstore,

All along the tendency to deplore the absence of more has not been authorised. It comes to mean that with burning there is that pleasant state of stupefication. Then there is a way of earning a living. Who is a man.

G



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19.

Dear Gertrude,

My back is killing me! I've tired pain killers, ergonomic chairs, a spring-loaded back-brace for the car seat, that "foam of the future" from Europe that makes an imprint of your hand, I've had my grandchild walk to and fro on my back, learned new and improved lifting techniques, went to chiropracty, tried men's yoga, vitamins, protein drinks, caffeine-free chewing gum, calcium-enriched shampoo, more variety meats on the bar-b-que, having sex sideways, petting my dog with a grabber, and even moving the top of my head to open my mouth, rather than my jaw. Nothing seems to work. I can barely sleep at night from the pain. I'm wondering, do you have any suggestions? I'll do anything.

Spinal Sadness



Dear Sad,

Now most of us live in ourselves that is to say in one thing and we have to have a relief from the intensity of that thing and so we like to look at something. Presidents of the United States of America are supposed to like to look at baseball games. I can understand that, I did too once, but ultimately it did not hold my attention. Pictures made in oil on a flat surface do, they hold my attention, and so to go further into this matter.

Felt air and sunshine,
G



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18.

Dear Gertrude,

I understand that you are close friends with many prominent artists. Assuming that you engage in intellectual and stimulating conversation with them about art, I wondered if you wouldn't mind giving me a critique of my latest work. I've enclosed a drawing that is yours to keep. Thank you!

No-name artist
click here to see image sent in by "No-name"



Dear No-Name,

The meaning of this is entirely and best to say the mark, best to say it best to show sudden places, best to make bitter, best to make the length tall and nothing broader, anything between the half.

G


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17.

Dear Gertrude,

As an artist, I am sure you encounter your share of wet-noodle, mopey hipsters. I can barely stand to go to the opening of an envelope! I am a sophomore in college but still unsure if I want to be an Art major. Maybe my dad was right and I should major in Engineering instead. Should I change my major?

Hopeless in Hoboken



Dear Hobo,

It is annoying to be told and to be told it is annoying to be told and to be told it is annoying to be told and to be told it is annoying to be told and to be told.
Nobody knows how open and how closed not as well as in another way. Nobody knows how open and how closed nobody knows nobody knows how open and how closed it is. It is. Nobody knows how open and how closed it is. It is.

G



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16.

Dear Gertrude,

I have a real problem. I'm a 10th grader and I live with my mom, a waitress, and her "boyfriend" who likes to use my face as his punching bag. Yesterday I decided I had had enough, and I ran away from home. My friend Gray picked me up in his new wheels, which I didn't realize were stolen. Pretty soon, the cops were after us, and since Gray had some pot, he made a run for it as soon as we were pulled over, leaving me alone with the cops. They took me in to juvie where my mom and her ugly slob of a boyfriend were waiting for me, acting all fake-concerned. All of a sudden, my real dad showed up, looking repulsively country-club smug. He had the nerve to ask me to come live with him at his new cookie-cutter suburban hell-house with his stepford wife and robot daughter. "Hell NO Shithead!" I screamed. The judge gave me a choice: I could either go live with my dad, or spend two years in juvie. I chose to live with my dad who abandoned me and my mom when I was 2. I hate that motherfucker, I hate his wife, and I'm gonna slit my stepsister's throat if she says another word to me. But I can't go back to my mom's and I am not going to juvie! What should I do Gertrude?

Lost,
Tough Girl



Dear Lost,

They have instincts they cook and turn and apples and salt. These have their way, they are not wretched with wood and gold nor are they eager with riots. And so many people appeal. They appeal to flushing. They flush when they have no rapid silence there. And they do not despise arrangements. Who can be merciless to the best armament. And do they like poise. I like the noise. I do not like the noise. How can you forget riches. Riches can mean prejudice. Can riches mean that. Yes in a crew. How can you cut a fish. Babies look, boys look and we look.

We look there,
G


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15.

Dear Gertrude,

Some of my writer friends obsess over where their work comes from. They want to know that they made the poem. Maybe the question I have is: Is the source for art something natural or is it artificial? You’ve written some landscape poetry, I think, so you know what I’m getting at. Landscape poetry is about the landscape, what you see there. You see it and you write about it and it’s natural. Some of these writers believe in the truth of emotion – if you feel it, it’s real – and if you feel it and write about it, then it’s natural. Now, I’m not trying to be antagonistic, but when I say that writing happens in a closed system, and one text comes from other texts, some of these friends get pretty mad at me. What gives?

Truly,
High on Art




Dear High Art,

No one knows a cloud
Which they see
As a cloud.
They see a cloud as a cloud.
They are all bothered not at all as a cloud.
They are waiting as a cloud
They have been only told that they are not to be waiting.
As a cloud which will finish,
They are waiting
As a cloud.
It is by no means what they wanted whereas after once they made hearing be hats maybe.

G


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14.

Dear Gertrude,

I feel like I am suffocating! Please, I cannot breathe. On the other hand, I enjoy swimming to stay fit. Ironically, when I hold my breath and go underwater, I experience such a tremendous sense of tranquility, it is as if I could stay under the surface all day long, without breathing—as if I were born a fish, effortlessly gliding through the water, no struggle at all. But this calm familiarity frightens me! Should I avoid the water altogether? Do I have latent suicidal tendencies? Why do I have such difficulty breathing outside of the water? Should I try some lung exercises?

Signed,
Aqua-lung



Dearest Lung,

What is strange is this.
As I come up and down easily.
I have been looking down and looking up easily.
And I look down easily.
And I look up and down not easily.
Because
It is this which I know
It is alike that is.
I have seen it or before.

That feels fortunately alike,
G



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13.

Dear Miss Gertrude,

You must be tired of always answering questions. Please, won’t you ask us a question? Go ahead.

With sincerity,
Monday



Dear Tuesday,

Collected addresses.
To address yes.
Tennessee and tenderness
Yes.
Sing questions.
Question one, who has whom.
Sing questions sing who has whom soon
Sing questions sing questions soon who has whom.
Sing questions soon sing questions who has whom.
Singing questions.
What is there to ask if they are here. Singing questions about how soon they can come to stay.
Come to stay may make it best to have it may be I will but I doubt it singing questions just as well as they may after April thirtieth there is may and after that there is the second of May. They sing questions about once a day.

Willingly,
G



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12.

Dear Trudy,

Say one receives a wedding invitation that mentions something about the attire being cocktail / black tie optional. And say one has recently purchased something by the name of cocktails that no longer warrants them the funds necessary to acquire something “optional,” let alone “black tie,” let alone replace that antique lladro. If, say, this were the case, would it be appropriate to attend said ceremony dressed in
1)
something white;
2)
something Russian;
3)
something that might be a white Russian reception gown with a coordinating fox fur muff which has recently been resurrected from a cedar trousseau and carefully steamed so as to remove every reminant drop of post-altar tears from one very unmemorable engagement, to say, some no-show flip-flop wearing dude-bro who knew exactly how to sing, say something like, “night, night sweet stoli poli night, night” in a way that looped about one’s head until, say, it could only be forced out with the help of, perhaps, several tumblers full of a certain signature vodka?

Muddled by My Ties,
Lacey



Dear Mud Tie,

Even those who are just ordinary know what the human mind is. But not when they are drunk. Nobody knows what the human mind is when they are drunk.
Every little play helps.
Another play.
There is any difference between resting and waiting.
Be careful of analysis and analogy.
A play.
There is no in between in a play.
A play could just as well only mean two.
Then it could do.
It could really have to do
With the human mind.
This is reading without tears but is there writing without tears.
Yes there is when you have been told not to cry.

Autobiographically,
G


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11.

Dear Gertrude,

I am a 12th grader at Lincoln High School. My mom wants me to go to community college, but I want to study professional fortune-telling. I know it may sound stupid, and everyone laughs at me. But I believe that I have a natural talent for emptying myself and receiving knowledge from the spirits. How can I convince everyone that I am serious?

Signed,
Secret seer



Dear Seer,

Americans are very friendly and very suspicious, that is what Americans are and that is what always upsets the foreigner, who deals with them, they are so friendly how can they be so suspicious they are so suspicious how can they be so friendly but they just are.

G



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10.

Dear Gertrude,

Last night I attended a dinner party at my husband's boss' home. It was a lovely dinner, but one of my husband's colleagues kept bragging about how well behaved his twin boys are. After one too many glasses of wine, I feel that I may have caused a scene by calling his children "Rod and Todd Milquetoast." Even though my husband's boss chuckled at my remark, I woke the next morning with remorse. Should I formally apologize to the colleague, to the boss?

Concerned in the Corner



Dear Corner,

We are always the same age inside.

G



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9.

My dear Gertrude,

All my friends are getting awfully old, bitterly cold, and yet they are young. At least they are not old, if you know what I mean (do you? I hope so because I think we have a special connection between us, if you know what I mean). They think they are old. I tell them no, no, don’t be like that, but they don’t listen. Not yet, I insist, it’s too soon for all of that noise and nonsense. Wait, or better yet, just forget about it. How do I get my friends to act their age?

Thanks for listening,
Time Sensitive



Dear Time Sense,

No no.
And no.
No not at all. A question. What is the difference between Waldemar and George.
Answer. There isn’t any.
Not in their meantime.
He met with he was met with and by.
Buy.
By and by.
Buy and not by and by.
Not by and by.
Not to buy and buy.
Not to buy and buy.
Not by and by.
By and by.
Who said.
He said.
Theme with variations.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
G



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8.

Dear Gertrude,

I want to have a baby. But my friend L wants to have a baby. And my friend H-A wants to have a baby too. Why do they always copy me? How can I make sure I have a baby before them? Can I sneak birth control pills in their food or is that too unethical?

Signed,
Not Preggers Yet



Dear Pringle,

And so bread known as sausages, cauliflower known as egg, butter known as orange and so salad known as salad. Salad grown and known and eggs laid and weighed and artichokes chosen and frozen and barley sown and grown and wheat ground and found and cherries begged and thanked for, not to be thanked for not to be thanked for and returned and as a gift. And as a gift. To bow and smile a while, to smile and bow and now all very well and now, to intend to not to pretend to and for for this and before before this and beside beside more, and more not any more and a chance not as a chance, to meet not in or on the street not on the street, do you compete, do you, and do you and do you eat very much. And always as one might say eider down. To suddenly save so much and very much. Very much and so much and so there. Alright and so there.

G



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7.

Dear Gertrude,

Lately I have begun to feel rather uncomfortable about my body—in other words, I feel that I am putting on weight much easier than I used to. Furthermore, I feel that as I get older, my body doesn't respond so easily to rigorous work and exercise like it used to, I mean, I don't "bounce back" as quickly. Do you have any health and diet tips for me? I have just turned 55, and I'm not getting any younger. Please help!

Flabby in Flagstaff



Dear Flaggy,

Why do you feel differently about a very little snail and a big one.
Why do you feel differently about a medium sized turkey and a very large one.
Why do you feel differently about a small band of sheep and several sheep that are riding.
Why do you feel differently about a fair orange tree and one that has blossoms as well.
Oh very well.
All nice wives are like that.

G


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6.

Dear Gertrude,

I know that the correct way to eat soup is to spoon it away from one, but, since it is easier to spoon it toward oneself, can you tell me the origin of this custom and its reason?

Spoonfed and Stumped



Dear Stumped,

A no, a no since, a no since when, a no since when since, a no since when since a no since when since, a no since, a no since when since, a no since, a no, a no since a no since, a no since, a no since.

G


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5.

Dear Gertrude!

I need immediate help. I have just received a call from my youngest son, who has told me he has been arrested for "disorderly conduct." Apparently, he was in Wal-Mart trying to cash in a gift certificate I sent him, and when the clerk wouldn't do it, he became disorderly and began cursing and waving his arms about. Now he doesn't have the gift certificate, or the money. What should I do? I'll be anxiously waiting for your reply.

Desperate in Duluth



Dear Debilitated,

Bewildering is a nice word but it is not suitable at present. They meant to be left as they meant to be left, as they meant to be left left and their center, as they meant to be left and and their center. So that in their and do, so that in their and to do. So suddenly and at his request. Get up and give it to him and so suddenly and as his request. Request to request in request, as request, for a request by request, requested, as requested as they requested, or so have it to be nearly there. Why are the three waiting, there are more than three. One two three four five six seven.

G



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4.

Dear Gertrude,

I know it's really none of my business, and I won't be surprised if you don't publish this letter on your website, but if you don't, maybe you could send me a letter personally. So, here goes: my question is, how did you first know you were a "lesbian?" Because I am 14 years old, and I am wondering if I am a lesbian or not. Thank you!

Curious but Cautious in Cuba, New York



Dear Curteous,

In the inside there is sleeping, in the outside there is reddening, in the morning there is meaning, in the evening there is feeling. In feeling anything is resting, in feeling anything is mounting, in feeling there is resignation, in feeling there is recognition, in feeling there is recurrence and entirely mistaken there is pinching. All the standards have steamers and all the curtains have bed linen and all the yellow has discrimination and all the circle has circling. This makes sand.

G



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3.

Dear Gertrude,

I have a terrible time remembering names. And faces. People think I'm rude because I don't recognize them when I see them in public, but they always seem to recognize me. How do I get over this social suicide? To make matters worse, as of late, I've been staying at home more and more because of this debilitating problem.

Faceless and Nameless



Dear Nameless,

To guess which is which.
Which is which.
Guess.
Two guess.
Which is which.
Guess which is which.
To guess which is which.
Which is which.
The first one here.
The one here.
Guess which is which.
I guess which is which.
The first there.
Which is which.
Here and there.
Which is which.
To guess which is which.
To guess which is which here which is which there. Which is which.
To guess which is which.
If to guess which is which, if to guess which is which, to guess.
Which is which.

G



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2.

Dear Gertrude,

Your writing kind of gives me a stomach ache. If you could just end a sentence normally, my uncomfortable "sideways" feelings might go away. Also, you use the wrong kinds of words where nouns should go, it really makes me feel crooked.

Signed,
Weary Wreader



Dear Weeder,

Reading.
Is reading painful.
When one has not the habit of reading reading is not painful. One can read hands, one cannot compare that with reading a book. Either the one or the other is useful and both are so pleasing to the ear and eye.
I have the eye but not the hand of an artist.

G



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1.

Dear Gertrude,

My firewood lies nestled in a rack.
Cylinders of fuel nestle closely, way out back.
Should I cover them with a tarp?
When the winter snows begin to carp?
Should I? Should I cover them?
If I covered them, would they?

P



Dear Pea,

Cabbages are green and if one should not happen to be there what would happen, the green would unhappily unhappily result in hardnesss and we could only regret that the result was unfortunate and so we astonish no one nor did we regret riches. Riches are not begun. They have a welcome in oceans. Oceans can not spread to the shore.

G


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