Building and Being

Lew Welch in the conclusion of How I Read Gertrude Stein offers a picture of the artist not as a tortured soul but as a builder.

And if you listen long enough you get the whole of art from her. You get no rule-of-thumb formulations, but you get thousands of ideas which you yourself can apply. You can build your own art, because she has shown you that art is what the artist makes it, and that artists are just like everyone else. You may not build anything that anyone else wants, or finds exciting, but that is just one of the rules of the game. No one can ever know, while he is building something, if it is the thing that must be built, that everyone will one day recognize as being the thing that defines the time in which it was built. But you go right on building, because if you are building something you are most like yourself, and after all what else can you be?

I like how this passage moves from learning something through a continuous building to a question of authenticity. Which is posed as a question. Because it is a question, I note a slight edge of hesitancy. It could very well be you are most unlike yourself when you are building.

And so for day 920

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