I know a little bit about a great many things and not enough about any one to make a living in these times.
No one who is young is ever going to be old.
Sometimes in the summer evenings they walked up the hill to watch the afterglow clinging to the tops of the western mountains and to feel the breeze drawn into the valley by the rising day-heated air. Usually they stood silently for a while and breathed in peacefulness. Since both were shy they never talked about themselves. Neither knew about the other at all.
Tom felt his darkness. His father was beautiful and clever, his mother was short and mathematically sure. Each of his brothers and sisters had looks or gifts or fortune. Tom loved all of them passionately, but he felt heavy and earth-bound. He climbed ecstatic mountains and floundered in the rocky darkness between the peaks. He had spurts of bravery but they were bracketed in battens of cowardice.
I think the difference between a lie and a story is that a story utilizes the trappings and appearance of truth for the interest of the listener as well as of the teller. A story has in it neither gain nor loss. But a lie is a device for profit or escape. I suppose if that definition is strictly held to, then a writer of stories is a liar - if he is financially fortunate.
No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselves that it is true and true of us.
Sometimes when she was alone, and she knew she was alone, she permitted her mind to play in a garden, and she smiled.
We only have one story. All novels, all poetry are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil.
And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.
I think there must have been some other girl printed somewhere in his heart, for he was a man of love and his wife was not a woman to show her feelings.
One day Samuel strained his back lifting a bale of hay, and it hurt his feelings more than his back, for he could not imagine a life in which Sam Hamilton was not privileged to lift a bale of hay. He felt insulted by his back, almost as he would have been if one of his children had been dishonest
Sometimes, a lie is told in kindness. I don't believe it ever works kindly. The quick pain of truth can pass away, but the slow, eating agony of a lie is never lost.
Well, every little boy thinks he invented sin. Virtue we think we learn, because we are told about it. But sin is our own designing.
And, of course, people are interested only in themselves. If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen.
I wonder how many people I have looked at all my life and never really seen.
One day we'll sit and you'll lay it out on the table, neat like a solitaire deck, but now - why, you can't find all the cards.
The church and the whorehouse arrived in the Far West simultaneously. And each would have been horrified to think it was a different facet of the same thing. But surely they were both intended to accomplish the same thing: the singing, the devotion, the poetry of the churches took a man out of his bleakness for a time, and so did the brothels.
What freedom men and women could have, were they not constantly tricked and trapped and enslaved and tortured by their sexuality! The only drawback in that freedom is that without it one would not be a human. One would be a monster.
As with many people, Charles, who could not talk, wrote with fullness. He set down his loneliness and his perplexities, and he put on paper many things he did not know about himself.
In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, our politics, even our religion, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God. This in my time is the danger. There is great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused. At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?
Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.
The direction of a big act will warp history, but probably all acts do the same in their degree, down to a stone stepped over in the path or the breath caught at sight of a pretty girl or a fingernail nicked in the garden soil.
When a man says he does not want to speak of something he usually means he can think of nothing else.
But think of the glory of the choice! That makes a man a man. A cat has no choice, a bee must make honey. There's no godliness there.
It was quite normal in that day for a man to use up three or four wives in a normal lifetime.
Parents took honor from a daughter who was a teacher.
The free exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.
When you're a child you're the center of everything. Everything happens for you. Other people? They're only ghosts furnished for you to talk to.
But you must give him some sign, some sign that you love him... or he'll never be a man. All his life he'll feel guilty and alone unless you release him.
It's a hard thing to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it.
People like you to be something, preferably what they are.
The house was clean, scrubbed and immaculate, curtains washed, windows polished, but all as a man does it - the ironed curtains did not hang quite straight and there were streaks on the windows and a square showed on the table when a book was moved.
You can boast about anything if it's all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast.
Courage and fear were one thing too.
I've never been content to pass a stone without looking under it. And it is a black disappointment to me that I can never see the far side of the moon.
Perhaps it takes courage to raise children..
The quick pain of truth can pass away, but the slow, eating agony of a lie is never lost. That's a running sore.
You're going to pass something down no matter what you do or if you do nothing. Even if you let yourself go fallow, the weeds will grow and the brambles. Something will grow.
Dessie's friends were good and loyal but they were human, and humans love to feel good and they hate to feel bad.
Let's get it over and the door closed shut on it! Let's close it like a book and go on reading! New chapter, new life.
Perhaps the best conversationalist in the world is the man who helps others to talk.
The ways of sin are curious . . . I guess if a man had to shuck off everything he had, inside and out, he'd manage to hide a few little sins somewhere for his own discomfort. They're the last things we'll give up.
Don't you dare take the lazy way. It's too easy to excuse yourself because of your ancestry. Don't let me catch you doing it! Now -- look close at me so you will remember. Whatever you do, it will be you who do.
Liza had a finely developed sense of sin Idleness was a sin, and card playing, which was a kind of idleness to her. She was suspicious of fun whether it involved dancing or singing or even laughter. She felt that people having a good time were wide open to the devil. And this was a shame, for Samuel was a laughing man, but I guess Samuel was wide open to the devil. His wife protected him whenever she could.
Perhaps the less we have, the more we are required to brag.
Then the hard, dry Spaniards came exploring through, greedy and realistic, and their greed was for gold or God. They collected souls as they collected jewels. They gathered mountains and valleys, rivers and whole horizons, the way a man might now gain tittle to building lots.
For the world was changing, and sweetness was gone, and virtue too. Worry had crept on a corroding world, and what was lost- good manners, ease and beauty? Ladies were not ladies anymore, and you couldn't trust a gentleman's word.
Lord, how the day passes! It's like a life - so quickly when we don't watch it and so slowly when we do.
Riches seem to come to the poor in spirit, the poor in interest and joy. To put it straight - the very rich are a poor bunch of bastards
Then there were harebells, tiny lanterns, cream white and almost sinful looking, and these were so rare and magical that a child, finding one, felt singled out and special all day long.
More John Steinbeck Quotations (Based on Topics)
Man - People - World - Mind - Time - Thought & Thinking - Education - Books - Work & Career - Woman - Sin - Life - Place - Dogs - Courage - Friendship - Fear - Wisdom & Knowledge - Success - View All John Steinbeck Quotations
More John Steinbeck Quotations (By Book Titles)
- Cannery Row
- East of Eden
- Of Mice and Men
- The Grapes of Wrath
- The Pearl
- The Winter of Our Discontent
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