Hell Yes, John Steinbeck

Posts tagged travels with charley

Google Doodle for John Steinbeck’s 112th Birthday (February 27, 2014): Travels with Charley

Then I remembered something I heard long ago that I hope is true. It was unwritten law in China, so my informant told me, that when one man saved another’s life he became responsible for that life to the end of its existence. For, having interfered with a course of events, the savior could not escape his responsibility. And that has always made good sense to me.

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley (via darkoyster)

So much there is to see, but our morning eyes describe a different world than do our afternoon eyes, and surely our wearied evening eyes can report only a weary evening world.

Travels With Charley, John Steinbeck (via flyingfarther)

We value virtue but do not discuss it. The honest bookkeeper, the faithful wife, the earnest scholar get little of our attention compared to the embezzler, the tramp, the cheat.

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley:  In Search of America (via last-broadcast)

In Spanish there is a word for which I can’t find a counterword in English. It is the verb vacilar, present participle vacilando. It does not mean vacillating at all. If one is vacilando, he is going somewhere, but does not greatly care whether or not he gets there, although he has direction. Everything in the world must have a design or the human mind rejects it. But in addition, it must have purpose or the human conscience shies away from it.

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley (via obscurumperobscurius)

This monster of a land, this mightiest of nations, this spawn of the future, turns out to be the macrocosm of microcosm me.
There seemed to be no cure for loneliness save only being alone.

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley (via onrooftops)

It is impossible to be in this high spinal country without giving thought to the first men who crossed it, the French explorers, the Lewis and Clark men. We fly it in five hours, drive it in a week, dawdle it as I was doing in a month or six weeks. But Lewis and Clark and their party started in St. Louis in 1804 and returned in 1806. And if we get to thinking we are men, we might remember that in the two and a half years of pushing through wild and unknown country to the Pacific Ocean and then back, only one man died and only one deserted. And we get sick if the milk delivery is late and nearly die of heart failure if there is an elevator strike. What must these men have thought as a really new world unrolled—or was the progress so slow that the impact was lost? I can’t believe they were unimpressed. Certainly their report to the government is an excited and an exciting document. They were not confused. They knew what they had found.

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley (via onrooftops)

I printed it once more on my eyes, south, west, and north, and then we hurried away from the permanent and changeless past where my mother is always shooting a wildcat and my father is always burning his name with his love.

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley (via onrooftops)

Oh, we can populate the dark with horrors, even we who think ourselves informed and sure, believing nothing we cannot measure or weigh. I know beyond all doubt that the dark things crowding in on me either did not exist or were not dangerous to me, and still I was afraid.

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley (via wikiquote)

Four hoarse blasts of a ship’s whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to tapping.

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley  (via wikiquote)

tarradoreroosevelt:

John Steinbeck with Martiros Saryan, November 15, 1963 ©Bettman/CORBIS.

At night in this waterless air the stars come down just out of reach of your fingers. In such a place lived the hermits of the early church piercing to infinity with unlittered minds. The great concepts of oneness and of majestic order seem always to be born in the desert. The quiet counting of the stars, and observation of their movements, came first from the desert places. I have known desert men who chose their places with quiet and slow passion, rejecting the nervousness of a watered world. These men have not changed with the exploding times except to die and be replaced by others like them…The desert, being an unwanted place, might well be the last stand of life against unlife. For in the rich and moist and wanted areas of the world, life pyramids against  itself and in its confusion has finally allied itself with the enemy non-life. And what the scorching, searing, freezing, poisoning weapons of non-life have failed to do may be accomplished to the end of its destruction and extinction by the tactics of survival gone sour. If the most versatile of living forms, the human, now fights for survival as it always has, it can eliminate not only itself but all other life. And if that should transpire, unwanted places like the desert might be the harsh mother of repopulation. For the inhabitants of the desert are well trained and well armed against desolation. Even our own misguided species might re-emerge from the desert. The lone man and his sun-toughened wife who cling to the shade in an unfruitful and uncoveted place might, with their brothers in arms- the coyote, the jackrabbit, the horned toad, the rattlesnake, together with a host of armored insects - these trained and tested fragments of life might well be the last hope of life against non-life. The desert has mothered magic things before this. From Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck.  

And I am sure that, as all pendulums reverse their swing, so eventually will the swollen cities rupture like dehiscent wombs and disperse their children back to the countryside.

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

I put on clean clothes and went out with him into the star-raddled night. And the Aurora Borealis was out. I’ve seen it only a few times in my life. It hung and moved with majesty in folds like an infinite traveler upstage in an infinite theater. In colors of rose and lavender and purple it moved and pulsed against the night, and the frost-sharped stars shone through it.

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

from Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck

bangstheory:

“‘You wouldn’t know, my Charley, that right down there, in that little valley, I fished for trout with your namesake, my Uncle Charley. And over there — see where I’m pointing — my mother shot a wildcat. Straight down there, forty miles away, our family ranch was — old starvation ranch. Can you see that darker place there? Well, that’s a tiny canyon with a clear and lovely stream bordered with wild azaleas and fringed with big oaks. And on one of those oaks my father burned his name with a hot iron together with the name of the girl he loved. In the long years the bark grew over the burn and covered it. And just a little while ago, a man cut that oak for firewood and his splitting wedge uncovered my father’s name and the man sent it to me. In the spring, Charley, when the valley is carpeted with blue lupines like a flowery sea, there’s the smell of heaven up there, the smell of heaven.’

I printed it once more on my eyes, south, west, and north, and then we hurried away from the permanent and changeless past where my mother is always shooting a wildcat and my father is always burning his name with his love.”

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