Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Bloom is Off the Rose is a Rose

You'll appreciate this if you've ever 1) grappled with Gertrude Stein's writing, or 2) received a rejection letter.

An editor at a London publishing house dispatched the following note to Stein in Paris in 1912. Clearly he'd had a bellyful of the iconic lesbian's rambling style.

Dear Madam,

I am only one, only one, only one. Only one being, one at the same time. Not two, not three, only one. Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour. Only one pair of eyes. Only one brain. Only one being. Being only one, having only one pair of eyes, having only one time, having only one life, I cannot read your M.S. three or four times. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one.

Many thanks. I am returning the M.S. by registered post. Only one M.S. by one post.