December 14, 2016

Stein encounters Twifflewinks

Thurber goes to a Gertrude Stein book signing:
At an autographing, you are supposed to write down on a card your name, or Aunt Lisbeth’s name, or the name of whomever you are buying the book for, and hand the book and the card to the autographer. This speeds things up, because people standing in front of an author and meeting the author’s eyes are likely to get timid and dry-throated and say “Zassfrank Dooselinch” or what sounds like “Zassfrank Dooselinch” to the author. Miss Stein doesn’t like people to be incoherent about names.  
She signed two hundred and seventy-five books in all, and her signing time was a little under an hour and a half. She wrote with a big pen, vigorously. We bought one of her books and got in line behind a man named Twifflefinks, Moited Twifflefinks (he hadn’t written his name on a card). That was straightened out after a while—Miss Stein is always gracious and patient. We just handed our book to her, and she glanced at us with her keen, humorous eyes and, seeing that we didn’t have a name, simply put her own name on the flyleaf, and the date.


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