up word the trees had come; new combinations. no puttering tomorrow.
“Am puttering to-day. Now three o’clock. Start things and don’t finish ’em. It’s sultry. I have spring fever. After supper Bowers the station agent sent up word the trees had come. Fred and I brought them up in a handcart. No puttering to-morrow.”
Susan Glaspell. The Road to the Temple (1926, 1927)
UK edition — different printing, (nicer) typesetting — (1926) : 95
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign copy/scan (via hathitrust)
catalog note : Biography of George Cram Cook, written by his wife. Part biography, part autobiography.
George Cram Cook (1873-1924), playwright, novelist, theater producer, agriculturalist, &c., &c.
wikipedia : link
See also Susan Glaspell her “Last Days in Greece,” in Greek coins; Poems by George Cram Cook, with memorabilia by Floyd Dell, Edna Kenton and Susan Glaspell (1925) : 31-49 : link
from Glaspell’s beautiful foreward to The Road to the Temple —
It is a life of achievement which is most distinguished in its defeats. He did not pause for success, he did not wait to hold it. He was on his way. Yet because he was unhappy at not having written the book of himself he had always meant to write, there is one thing I would give much to say to him now. I want to say: “But you did write your book.”
And where did he leave it? That is itself a story.
He left it on the piece of paper that was there at the moment; he left it after he had put down a telephone number, or before he made the note : “Write Fitzie” or “Spade flower-bed for Susan.” He left it on the margins of books he was reading, on the back of the letter he had just received. All his life he had that way of putting down the thing he was thinking at the moment. It is straight from the mind. It has not lost heat or been distorted to serve something else.
“To do work that endures — to build a house, a bridge, a book that lasts — so only can one preserve one’s past.” The words are written on a wrinkled piece of paper, evidently crumpled to throw away, then smoothed out again. The other things on it are : “Buy seeds; return books; shave; systematize papers.”
“My new desk, I hope, will be in my life what Plato was in Greek philosophy — the arrival of order and system where before was chaos.”
Perhaps the new desk was not large enough; perhaps Greek philosophy fell more easily into order and system. I have pictures of him, papers piled around him, destroying a few, putting others in envelopes, but becoming so interested in them that he would try to bring the order out of chaos by making new combinations.
It was hard for him to throw things away.
While minus the talent or energy, the compiler of these putterings finds something resonant in these lines.