Steinbeck’s BDay

For John Steinbeck’s 112th birthday, here are nine Steinbeck quotes about writing, living, and individualism:

1. In every bit of honest writing in the world … there is a base theme. Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love. There are shorter means, many of them. There is writing promoting social change, writing punishing injustice, writing in celebration of heroism, but always that base theme. Try to understand each other. – Journal entry, 1938

2. Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. – Interview with Robert van Gelder, April 1947

3. The profession of book-writing makes horse-racing seem like a solid, stable business. – Newsweek, 24 December 1962

4. The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true. – New York Times, 2 June 1969

5. Man, unlike anything organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. – Grapes of Wrath, 1939

6. And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for it is the one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost. – East of Eden, 1952

7. There are no ugly questions except those clothed in condescension. – East of Eden, 1952

8. To be alive at all is to have scars. – The Winter of Our Discontent, 1961

9. A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it. – Travels With Charley: In Search of America, 1962

From Biographile

Google’s homepage doodle for Steinbeck is also pretty cool. 

Posted in Books, Writers and tagged , , .

One Comment

  1. i vote for #8 as the #1 quote. literal, figurative scars, they tell our story.
    like the G homepage Steinbeck doodle. Who gets these cool jobs, anyway?

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