blackbirdonline journalFall 2013 Vol. 12 No. 2
 print version
JULIAN STREET | Why I Became a Cubist

Painstaking Writer
from Julian Street’s 1947 New York Times Obituary

A very careful writer, Julian Street once told an interviewer in 1912: “It comes hard. I spend hours, days, weeks, in toil, trying to make it come right. Some of the days I work hardest I accomplish nothing. Once I spent four weeks on as many pages. I left them on the desk by an open window and they blew out. Later a hallboy brought up one sheet rain­soaked. I was wild. I offered him $5 to find the others. He found them and brought them up, but in the meantime I suddenly hit upon the right line, the line I'd been groping for all those weeks. I had to chuck those four pages into the waste basket and write the thing all over. And I was proud of it when I got through.”

 Wallace Morgan and Julian Street, outside of Chicago’s Art Institute, February 1914.
 The two collaborated on Abroad At Home: American Ramblings, Observations, and
 Adventures of Julian Street, With Pictorial Sidelights by Wallace Morgan
(New York:
 The Century Company, 1914).

DN-0062149, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.
American Memory, Library of Congress.

“There's nothing that comes up to the feeling of satisfaction that steals over you when you realize that you’ve done something as well as you possibly could do it, even though it’s no more than one paragraph. You may have spent hours over that one paragraph, but if at last you can look at it and realize that it’s your best you are repaid for all. I work hard, and sometimes when I count up and see what a little bit I've ever published I'm almost ashamed. But it's the only way I can work, and after all it’s the only way I really want to work.”

An authority on foods as well as on wines, Mr. Street was listened to when he declared that most cooks are unfair to spinach. “As ordinarily served, spinach is very nearly inedible," he said. “You might as well eat a boiled green blotter. Nutmeg alone, and most housewives don't know this, can do a lot for spinach. A dash of nutmeg seasoning, not too much, gives it a highly improved flavor. And spinach should be cooked, and served, damp—not swimming.”  end

   Why I Became a Cubist
   Straight Talk With Everybody’s Publishers
   Painstaking Writer
   from Julian Street’s 1947 New York Times Obituary
   1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art Catalogue (pdf)

return to top