I have been required to put roots and shoots and little stems and tendrils together much as their author did, to wander discouraged and confused as Hansel and Gretel through a dark wood of witches, to strike the hot right way suddenly, but just as suddenly to mire, to drag, to speed, to shout Urreek! to fall asleep, to submit to revelations, certainly to curl a lip, to doubt, unnose a disdainful snort, snick a superior snicker, curse, and then at some point not very pleasantly to realize that the game I'm playing is the game of creation itself, because Tender Buttons is above all a book of kits like those from which harpsichords or paper planes or model bottle boats are fashioned, with intricacy no objection, patience a demand, unreadable plans a pleasure.
William Gass (b. 1924), U.S. fictionist, essayist, philosopher. Parts I and III first appeared in The New York Review of Books as "Gertrude Stein, Geographer, I" (May 3, 1973) and "Gertrude Stein, Geogr." "Gertrude Stein and the Geography of the Sentence," p. 65, The World Within the Word.