Monday, 6 April 2009


Gertrude Stein and Alice B.Toklas at home, in 1923, pre-twitter. 

Gertrude Stein uses Twitter. She doesn't call it that. 

Gertrude Stein lost the continuous present. Then she found it again. She called it twitter.

Alice B Toklas thinks the whole thing is ridiculous. She sends the occasional e-mail, but nothing more.

Gertrude Stein twitters all day and night. 

Gertrude Stein twitters in the park the park.

Twitter twitters twitters twitters twitters.

Gertrude Stein says a text is a text but twitter.

She is aware that it is easy to parody what one is parodying.

That it is not necessarily funny to be funny when one is being funny or not being.

Gertrude Stein knows the limits of twitter.

And all those who twitter in 2009 are being Gertrude Stein.

They are not being Alice B Toklas of that Alice B Toklas is very clear.

And so is Gertrude Stein. Gertrude Stein is very clear.

And to say "I am eating my lunch" is to be Alice B Toklas.

But to say "I am eating my lunch and it is a brown cow" that is Gertrude Stein.

And it is Twitter if it is 140 characters or less.

Which it is. And 2009 is. And Gertrude is but not Alice. 

Gertrude Stein is so into twitter that she has terminated her MySpace profile. 

Gertrude Stein still uses Google Chat but only practically.

It is twitter that offers Gertrude Stein the chance to connect to her earliest work such as Tender Buttons.

The space of the rectangle and the character limit define a space the mind can move through writing

The space defines and the space is to be filled and in so doing it is defined

Which is like a city or a global economy and Gertrude Stein knows it.

Gertrude Stein knows it is also the war.

She knows it is it when it is and Twitter is isn't it.

Gertrude Stein has many followers on Twitter although not Ernest Hemingway who is dead.

Gertrude Stein follows nobody.

Some suspect that Gertrude Stein might not be Gertrude Stein.

Some suspect that Gertrude Stein is Penelope Cruz.

Gertrude Stein knows that she is Gertrude Stein.

Gertrude Stein knows that she has always been Gertrude Stein and that the accumulated mass of her tweets proves it.

Gertrude Stein says you can always tell a true Mondrian from a copy and hence she is Gertrude Stein.

Gertrude Stein knows that Twitter proves she was right all along.

Alice B Toklas thinks most of Gertrude Steins followers look like idiots.

Gertrude Stein agrees but only looked very quickly.

Gertrude Stein is twittering now and has twittered and is.

Gertrude Stein and the twitter rectangle right now.

Twitter twitter twitter twitter twitter twitter.

Gertrude Stein would like to tell Picasso about twitter but he has most fortunately.

Thanks to Mary Paterson, who commissioned this piece last week as part of the Critical Communities project, organised by New Work Network and Open Dialogues. Following on from a series of micro-presentations where each member had two minutes to showcase their work and interests, we have been responding to issues raised by commissioning small pieces of writing from one another.