Tuesday, April 28, 2009

John Cage's stories: The perfection of the operation

One evening I was walking along Hollywood
Boulevard, nothing much to
do. I stopped and
looked in the window of a stationery
shop. A mechanized pen
was suspended in space in such a
way that, as a mechanized roll of paper
passed by it, the pen went
through the motions of the same
penmanship exercises I had learned
as a child in the third grade.
Centrally placed in the
window was an advertisement explaining
the mechanical reasons for the
perfection of the operation of
the suspended mechanical pen.
I was fascinated,
for everything was going wrong.
The pen was
tearing the paper to shreds and
splattering ink all over the window
and on the advertisement,
which,
nevertheless, remained legible.