field notes

I just found out John Cage’s Rules for Students and Teachers were actually written by a nun

Oh my god! I always thought the rules were written by Cage himself. This is the document I’m talking about (image via Brian Eno but also it’s all over the internet):

Apparently the list actually originates from Corita Kent–silkscreen artist, educator, and nun (at the time), while she was teaching at Immaculate Heart College in LA. John Cage was the one who popularized the list.

Here’s the original list, courtesy of Brain Pickings:

Of course, the unflappable Maria Popova already knew.

Everything in the world makes so much more sense now. I’d assumed the rules were written by Cage, but at the same time there was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on: the voice behind the rules didn’t sound quite like Cage’s voice. Plus: John Cage is a huge hero of mine, but may I just say, this is SO classic! I just feel like in the coming years we’ll find out more and more stuff (specific works, or “firsts” like first novel, first computer program, etc) that has been attributed to men, actually originated from a lady.

I found out from this video about Corita Kent’s life and art. The video actually has a lot of great stuff in addition to the above revelation. Shoutout to my friend Hardik for sending it my way.