Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Shadow of John Steinbeck.

John Steinbeck had his shadow over me for a long time but I was never aware until now.

For many years, I confused John Steinbeck with Pearl S Buck. I have never read both authors but I always felt I had. Then it dawned on me I knew them from the compulsory comprehension assignments from school. Steinbeck wrote the Pearl and not the the author Pearl S Buck. They shared Pearl but one is what you got out of shellfish and the other was a writer. Both Steinbeck and Buck won the Nobel for Literature.

But I encouraged my children to read Pearl S Buck unsuccessfully.

I have been down the whole length of Canary Wharf in Monterey three times. That place was supposed to be filled with the spirit of John Steinbeck. I must at least choose something from Steinbeck to complete the course. Tonight I have chosen one of his three most notable works: East of Eden.  I picked it in order to pray intelligently just as I had done the same for others before. This is what this person said about the book:

East of Eden brings to surface so many things I never knew about myself. It's a beautiful book but it's really uncomfortable too, because it forces me to re-think everything I've been so sure of. About man, about sin, about love. The big events in the story aren't the ones that leave an impression. The little ones do. And sitting in a cafe reading this while waiting for the sub family to take me to dinner, I feel an overwhelming surge of sadness and it makes me want to cry. People always talk about how you have to put down a book sometimes to remind yourself to breathe. It gets a bit more embarrassing when you're so distraught and you try to not cry because you are in a public place.

This must be divinely inspired literature if it is able to illuminate who you are.

Update: 10:10pm

How could I have missed adding this to the post? When our businesses didn't succeed and we were much younger and could afford the failure, my partner a better read person said to me from Steinbeck.

The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,

Indeed the shadow of John Steinbeck.

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