23 October 2011


My dearest Sammy,
The Mix master came Easter Sunday, and we have not had time to more than read the literature put it together and gloat, oh so beautiful is the Mix master, so beautiful ... we are very happy to have it here, bless you Sammy, Madame Roux said oui il est si gentil, et en effet he is dear little Sammy, Easter morning, what a spring, lovely as I have never seen anything lovely ... Alice all smiles and murmurs in her dreams, Mix master

[Letter from Gertrude Stein to Samuel Steward, 1940, quoted in Secret historian: the life and times of Samuel Steward, professor, tattoo artist, and sexual renegade by Justin Spring, p. 76-77 in FSG paperback edition, 2011]

Leads one to wonder or reflect:

* Did Alice make her famous brownies with the Mixmaster?

* Are lovely days more dreamy? In the early days of World War II for Gertrude Stein. Or terrifying? The clear skies of 9/11 in New York City and the next few days.

* Steward mailed the Mixmaster by parcel post in November 1939 after having been with Gertrude and Alice at Bilignin, and leaving quickly in August when war seemed imminent.

* Gertrude Stein's words are musical. I'd love to see a revival of "In circles" by Al Carmines from Gertrude Stein's opera "A circular play" which I saw in 1968 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. We got the album and I copied it onto cassette and sometimes sing more or less every word as I'm driving somewhere.

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