Alice B. Toklas Lived in Seattle Before She Met Gertrude Stein - Features - The Stranger
“The Marriage of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein” is a play not by Gertrude Stein but is a play by Edward Einhorn that is a play about marriage. If there was great love story among the Lost Generation writers, we believe it was the long relationship between Gertrude Stein and Alice B. The gender roles in Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas are of the average male vice the more endearing, less confrontational relationships.
Both Toklas and Stein lost their mothers to cancer when young. Both Toklas and Stein did not want to marry men. Aroundwhile mired in the composition of The Making of Americans, Stein wrote the first of what was to become a signature form for her, the word portrait.
Here's some of it: Many were sorry later that not everyone liked the daughter.
Many did like the daughter but not as everyone had liked the mother. The daughter was charming inside in her, it did not show outside in her to every one, certainly did to some In an early draft of Stein's novel Ada, the main character is not named "Ada," but "Alice. Stein's version of Alice's girlhood continues: Stein wrote the way she thought and sometimes talked, but also how someone cannot talk or doesn't if they are afraid.
Gertrude and Alice | porkostournaments.info
One listened and one told and one wrote and one read and each and both kept one another's stories. It is easy to believe this thing. She was telling someone who was loving every story that was charming.
Someone who was living was almost always listening. Someone who was loving was almost always listening. That one who was loving was almost always listening The couple lived together 40 years, and then, inStein, like Stein's mother and Toklas's mother, died of cancer.
In Staying on Alone, a volume of Toklas's post-Stein correspondence, the first entry reads in its entirety: She protected, if not created, the legacy of Stein, overseeing the publication of, defending, explaining, and editing both the work and the story of Stein's life and the life they lived together. Inhaving been told by a priest that one might meet one's beloved in heaven, and having been drawn to the faith for years, Toklas was received into the Roman Catholic Church.
Somehow, Alice had come up with some idea that Stein, by virtue of her having been a "genius," had been given a free pass to heaven, whereas she, Toklas, needed to access heaven via this religious practice. Toklas died 10 years later in a tiny apartment in Paris, alone, impoverished though Stein had provided for Alice in her will, Stein's relatives subverted the writer's intentsarthritic, bedridden, partially deaf and partially blind, and mustachioed.
I like to imagine Toklas and Stein in heaven. I like to imagine them in their apartment in heaven with their paintings and food and dogs, together and happy.
The Sorrento Hotel opened inmore than 10 years after the Toklas family returned to California. Located at the corner of Terry and Madison, the hotel may be near or even on the site of the now-demolished Toklas home.
One version of the haunting story says that a woman dressed in white wanders the fourth-floor hall of the hotel. There is also a version where she's in black. Sometimes lights flicker or someone hears something move or make a noise but nobody sees who did it!
Or someone hears someone yelling inside a room that no one's supposed to be in! When I told a friend I was working on this story and asked if she'd ever heard that Alice haunts the Sorrento, she said, "Oh yeah. Then I saw my friend's grin and I felt like an idiot. I don't believe in ghosts, but maybe I want to. I want there to be something left after someone dies.Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas
I want something more than sadness or loss or trying to look on the bright side or just remembering. I do believe in grief. I believe in how it can stick to you and wrap you all up like Saran wrap.
I'm not saying Alice B. Toklas does or does not haunt the Sorrento. It's a beautiful place, and they have even invented a terrific drink for her, the Ms.
Toklas lucid absinthe, elderflower, chamomile, honey, lemon juice, rocks. So, if Alice's spirit is a wandering one, why not come back to Seattle? In the s her mom was alive and charming, and Alice herself was alive and gay and beginning to be an artist.
She lived here when she was happy, before anybody she loved had died. Who doesn't want to go back to then? Who isn't haunted by a sweeter past? There's more than one kind of haunting. There's haunting that's not about wandering figures in white or mysterious noises, but haunting as in the things you can't forget. The things you remember and wonder what if.
What if I had done that differently? What if I'd said what I meant? Oh what, oh what if I could go back? There's haunting like how when you wear something someone gave you, you remember.
Or you hear a song or want to tell someone something but they're gone. There's haunting like staring for how long at you don't know what. There's haunting like thinking why can't I be happy again? Why are you dead? So we gathered a couple of poets, two APRIL people, a ghost photographer, and a big guy in Gertrude Stein drag, his wife, and their Chihuahua in poodle dragto read Stein's and Toklas's work and talk about their lives, especially the years Alice lived in Seattle.
Whether Toklas's ghost appeared in our crystal ball or guided our hands on our homemade Ouija board or appeared in any of the ghost photographs we took, I neither know nor care. But I do believe we were visited that night at the Sorrento, by spirits of kindness and humor and love, and those are good enough for me. Alice is living in heaven with Gertrude Stein.
Gertrude was ample, and had, by all accounts, a large, well-shaped head which she eventually displayed with a fetching Caesar cut. Alice was small and thin with large dark eyes and a small bit of fur on her upper lip. She had a propensity for flowing dresses and gypsy earrings. When they went to visit Gertrude's brother, Julien Stein, his 3-year-old son said that he liked the man, but why did the lady have a mustache? They lived as husband and wife, "she with a sheet of linen and he with a sheet of paper," as Gertrude is quoted in Diana Souhami's biography, "Gertrude and Alice.
The terms of their endearment reflect their respective roles. According to Souhami, "Alice was gay, kitten, pussy, baby, queen, cherubim, cake, lobster, wifie, Daisy, and her little jew [sic]. Gertrude was king, husband, hubbie, Mount fattie and fattuski. I am fondest of all of lifting belly Lifting belly is in bed And the bed has been made comfortable Lifting belly And aiming. Exactly and making a cow come out.
While Gertrude proffered sex in prose; Alice prepared suggestive dishes. In the "Alice B. Toklas Cookbook," she writes, "In the menu, there should be a climax and a culmination.
Come to it gently. Alice's role was to play the midwife to Gertrude's genius, but she also stands as an argument for the idea that midwives, like housewives, are anything but incidental. To her, housekeeping for geniuses was an art in itself: I must say that you can not tell what a picture really is or what an object really is until you dust it every day and you can not tell what a book is until you type or proof read it. It then does something to you that only reading can never do.
Besides dusting the art, Alice spent quite a bit of time transposing art onto ordinary household objects.
Gertrude and Alice
Dishes for artists were a frequent necessity at 27 rue de Fleurus, and a key element of the "Alice B. Toklas Cookbook," Alice's collection of recipes and the stories behind them, published after Gertrude's death. A culinary work called bass for Picasso was poached in wine and butter, following the advice of Alice's aunt, who contended that a "fish, having lived its life in water, once caught, should have no further contact with the element in which it had been born and raised.
Picasso, though impressed by the beauty of the fish, said that it should have been made for Matisse, not for him. Nevertheless, he rewarded Alice's artistry with a needlepoint pattern, which she used to make tapestries for two Louis XVI chairs. And of course Alice, in the classic role of an artist's lover, served as Gertrude's muse.
But given that Gertrude's art was not of the classic genre, this could take the form of not-so-classic endeavors. One guest remembers watching Gertrude instruct Alice to bat a -- what else? At some point, Gertrude suggested that Alice write an autobiography. Her suggested titles illustrate her ideas about Alice's status in their relationship: Here she is, writing as "Alice": I am a pretty good housekeeper and a pretty good gardener and a pretty good needlewoman and a pretty good secretary and a pretty good vet for dogs and I have to do them all at once and I found it difficult to add being a pretty good author.
About six weeks ago Gertrude Stein said, it does not look to me as if you were ever going to write that autobiography. You know what I am going to do. I am going to write it for you. I'm going to write it as simply as Dafoe did the autobiography of Robinson Crusoe. And she has and this is it. For Gertrude to write the autobiography of Alice in Alice's "voice" could be construed as sheer hubris.
And the novel, which begins with their first meeting and ends with Gertrude's decision to write the autobiography, certainly implies that Alice's life begins and ends with Gertrude. But it is also a love poem of the deepest kind -- an attempt to literally become her lover.
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For what it's worth, friends who knew them both say that Gertrude faithfully reproduced Alice's verbal tics and quirks. Besides, there is evidence that Alice had quite a bit of power herself, albeit power of the sneakier, passive-aggressive variety. She served as Gertrude's amanuensis and editor. She typed all of Gertrude's manuscripts, making editorial suggestions, and -- since she made the astonishing claim that she read Gertrude's writing better than Gertrude -- perhaps rewrote entire passages.
In the published version of the autobiography, "Alice" says about Gertrude's "The Making of Americans":