I don't remember exactly when I began reading Steinbeck.
I do remember my dad passing the books along to me one by one. I drank each one dry and then moved on to the next.
East of Eden
After this one I stopped. It remains one of the most profound books I have ever read. A classic story of good and evil crafted into a work of art.
At the time, I had never been to California but I suddenly longed to go.
I thought setting foot on the fertile ground of the Salinas Valley would make something beautiful grow in me too. I imagined the west would move me, as Steinbeck's words had...writing me into a story that surrounds you and seeps inside of you and connects you to all the world and all of time.
It's a magnificent yet unsettled feeling that Steinbeck sets inside of you.
He is one of my favorite story tellers.
Though his tales are fiction they are based on much truth.
Whether a story really happened or is the product of the author's imagination, it's the truth and the beauty I go digging for in all of them.
Steinbeck knew this about stories and it's why his were so wildly popular...
it's why I was led to write this series...
it's why so many of you have been connecting here this month...
No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselves that it is true and true of us.
Years later I would move to Arizona and the west would be my home for nearly seven years. In hindsight my years there were full of the searching. I think I was looking for a remedy for that unsettled feeling I still carried inside of me. What I found was truth...and the settling began.
It leaves me feeling a sadness for my old friend.
I can't help but think his story of the garden was incomplete...
and I wish I could have written a tale for him that would have explained the rest of the story...
the rest of the truth...the really beautiful kind.