Dear Gertrude

Good morning! It is the hundredth birthday of your tender buttons. Happy birthday to you happy birthday to them. They continue and have gone on continuing all these years isn’t it something. It is something to be sure. This morning they freshen my eyes just as they always have and they are freshening the eyes of others too. Gertrude I want to give you my hat and say chapeau. Did you say wooden object or did you say woolen object did you say the whole head that had a hole or did you say the whole bead that had a hole. Did you say all that time there was breadth or did you say all that time there was breath. I like them both I like them all. Gertrude you have mothered more than you knew but oh well you knew really didn’t you you always knew and you were knowing because you knew who you were and what you were going to do and then you did it and you went on doing it. Gertrude. My student said that reading your buttons was like reading a story that was put in a blender. Another said that reading your tender buttons is like flailing. And she underlined it like that. What if you felt free to do anything I said. What if you were a woman when you were a woman and you felt that way. What if you felt free to follow the voice inside the one you heard. Reading you peels my eyes open peels my fibrous soul open peels it all open. Reading you is the right thing to do it is a write thing. It begets writing and with wax wood and string wings it launches me off a bluff like Leonardo’s flying machines. Your book of buttons is an ornithopter. But you were never bluffing because you really had it in you you knew how to fly. The book she has muscular calves. All of this makes an uttermost, which is a charming occasion today. In the midst of a flourish you lift your wrist. You say Giving it away, not giving it away, is there any difference. Giving it away. Not giving it away.[1] I would like to give you a bouquet of alphabets for your book’s birthday, Gertrude. Here.



1. Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons: The Corrected Centennial Edition, ed. Seth Perlow (San Francisco: City Lights, 2014), 69.

Twenty-two on 'Tender Buttons'