Writer’s Desk: Everything is Material

Gertrude Stein tended to be more known for who she was (holder of literary salons, quotable intellectual roustabout, knower of the famous) than what she wrote. This always bothered her.

She would be irritated that today her profile remains primarily that of an expatriate rebel. But while much of her writing was high-minded experimentation, she still has a lot to teach any scrivener.

Take this aside (and note the similarities between its straightforward simplicity and that of one Ernest Hemingway, who she once mentored) from her novel Paris France:

Familiarity does not breed contempt, anything one does every day is important and imposing and anywhere one lives is interesting and beautiful. And that is all as it should be.

In other words, nothing is inherently literary. It’s all material. Tell it well.

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