John Steinbeck quote

"A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn't telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome."

John Steinbeck

Born: February 27, 1902

Die: December 20, 1968

Occupation: Author

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More quotes of John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck

My wife, my Mary, goes to her sleep the way you would close the door of a closet. So many times I have watched her with envy. Her lovely body squirms a moment as though she fitted herself into a cocoon....

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John Steinbeck

A fallow field is a sin.

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John Steinbeck

Evening of a hot day started the little wind to moving among the leaves. The shade climbed up the hills toward the top. On the sand banks the rabbits sat as quietly as little gray, sculptured stones.

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John Steinbeck

But you can't start. Only a baby can start. You and me - why, we're all that's been. The anger of a moment, the thousand pictures, that's us. This land, this red land, is us; and the flood years and the...

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John Steinbeck

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...

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John Steinbeck

it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials.

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John Steinbeck

She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken. And since old Tom and the children could not know hurt or fear unless she acknowledged...

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John Steinbeck

Two are better than one,because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lif' up his fellow, but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help...

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John Steinbeck

And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.

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John Steinbeck

You are not a man anymore. You are a soldier. Your comfort is of no importance and your life isn't of much importance. Most of your orders will be unpleasant, but that's not your business. They should've...

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John Steinbeck

Why, Tom - us people will go on livin' when all them people is gone. Why, Tom, we're the people that live. They ain't gonna wipe us out. Why, we're the people - we go on.' 'We take a beatin' all the time.'...

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John Steinbeck

There are two kinds of people in the world, observers and non-observers...

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John Steinbeck

Up ahead they's a thousan' lives we might live, but when it comes it'll on'y be one.

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John Steinbeck

Look at them. There are your true philosophers. I think that Mack and the boys know everything that has ever happened in the world and possibly everything that will happen. I think they survive in this...

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John Steinbeck

I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why.

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John Steinbeck

At about 10 o'clock in the morning the sun threw a bright dust-laden bar through one of the side windows and in and out of the beam flies shot like rushing stars.

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John Steinbeck

I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.

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John Steinbeck

It was a day as different from other days as dogs are from cats and both of them from chrysanthemums or tidal waves or scarlet fever.

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John Steinbeck

How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only in his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children? You can't scare him--he has known a fear beyond every other.

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John Steinbeck

But you can't start over Only a boy can start over You and me Why, we're all that's been

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John Steinbeck

A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean question: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well - or ill?

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John Steinbeck

George's voice became deeper. He repeated his words rhythmically as though he had said them many times before. 'Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family....

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John Steinbeck

Lennie begged, "Le's do it now. Le's get that place now." "Sure right now. I gotta. We gotta.

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John Steinbeck

He can kill anything for need but he could not even hurt a feeling for pleasure.

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John Steinbeck

It would be good to live in a perpetual state of leave-taking, never to go nor to stay, but to remain suspended in that golden emotion of love and longing; to be loved without satiety.

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John Steinbeck

Within that frame he went a long way and burned a deep scar.

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John Steinbeck

A large drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud, like a bloody rag, hung over the spot of its...

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John Steinbeck

There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stuff people do. It's all part of the same thing. And some of the things folks do is nice, and some ain't nice, but that's as far as any man got...

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John Steinbeck

It is a time of quiet joy, the sunny morning. When the glittery dew is on the mallow weeds, each leaf holds a jewel which is beautiful if not valuable. This is no time for hurry or for bustle. Thoughts...

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John Steinbeck

Man has a choice and it's a choice that makes him a man.

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John Steinbeck

..it's awful not to be loved. It's the worst thing in the world...It makes you mean, and violent, and cruel.

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John Steinbeck

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.

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John Steinbeck

The impulse of the American woman to geld her husband and castrate her sons is very strong.

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John Steinbeck

You stay out here a little while, an' if you smell any roses, you come let me smell, too.

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John Steinbeck

People like you to be something, preferably what they are.

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John Steinbeck

All great and precious things are lonely.

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John Steinbeck

It is the nature of a man as he grows older, a small bridge intime, toprotest againstchange, particularlychangefor the better.

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John Steinbeck

In business and in politics a man must carve and maul his way through men to get to be King of the Mountain. Once there, he can be great and kind-but he must get there first.

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John Steinbeck

There's more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty.

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John Steinbeck

Luck, you see, brings bitter friends.

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John Steinbeck

I think of my life as a kind of music, not always good music but still having form and melody.

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John Steinbeck

The fields were fruitful, and starving men moved on the roads.

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John Steinbeck

Doc tips his hat to dogs as he drives by and the dogs look up and smile at him.

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John Steinbeck

Time is more complex near the sea than in any other place, for in addition to the circling of the sun and the turning of the seasons, the waves beat out the passage of time on the rocks and the tides rise...

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John Steinbeck

Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids.

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John Steinbeck

Sometimes when she was alone, and she knew she was alone, she permitted her mind to play in a garden, and she smiled.

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John Steinbeck

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...

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John Steinbeck

Texas is not a state - it's a state of mind.

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John Steinbeck

We have never understood why men mount the heads of animals and hang them up to look down on their conquerers. Possibly it feels good to these men to feel superior to animals, but does it not seem that...

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John Steinbeck

The theater is the only institution in the world which has been dying for four thousand years and has never succumbed. It requires tough and devoted people to keep it alive.

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John Steinbeck

When Kino had finished, Juana came back to the fire and ate her breakfast. They had spoken once, but there is not need for speech if it is only a habit anyway. Kino sighed with satisfaction - and that...

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John Steinbeck

For it is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more. And this is said in disparagement, whereas it is one of the greatest talents the species has and...

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John Steinbeck

The people say that the two seemed to be removed from human experience; that they had gone through pain and had come out on the other side.

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John Steinbeck

Eventlessness has no posts to drape duration on. From nothing to nothing is no time at all.

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John Steinbeck

Our Father who art in nature, who has given the gift of survival to the coyote, the common brown rat, the English sparrow, the house fly and the moth, must have a great and overwhelming love for no-goods...

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John Steinbeck

An ocean without unnamed monsters would be like sleep without dreams.

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John Steinbeck

Strange how one person can saturate a room with vitality, with excitement. Then there are others, and this dame was one of them, who can drain off energy and joy, can suck pleasure dry and get no sustenance...

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John Steinbeck

American cities are like badger holes, ringed with trash--all of them--surrounded by piles of wrecked and rusting automobiles, and almost smothered in rubbish. Everything we use comes in boxes, cartons,...

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John Steinbeck

Maybe the hardest thing in writing is simply to tell the truth about things as we see them.

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John Steinbeck

The sale of souls to gain the whole world is completely voluntary and almost unanimous...but not quite.

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John Steinbeck

There's a capacity for appetite... that a whole heaven and earth of cake can't satisfy

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John Steinbeck

Oh, the strawberries don't taste as they used to and the thighs of women have lost their clutch!

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John Steinbeck

We gather our arms full of guilt as though it were precious stuff. It must be that we want it that way.

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John Steinbeck

I find out of long experience that I admire all nations and hate all governments

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John Steinbeck

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.

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John Steinbeck

A dying people tolerates the present, rejects the future, and finds its satisfactions in past greatness and half remembered glory

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John Steinbeck

You can't go home again because home has ceased to exist except in the mothballs of memory.

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John Steinbeck

And then we take a soldier and put murder in his hands and we say to him, "Use it well, use it wisely.

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John Steinbeck

I wonder how many people I've looked at all my life and never seen. It's scary to think about. Point of reference again. When two people meet, each one is changed by the other so you've got two new people.

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John Steinbeck

I saw in their eyes something I was to see over and over in every part of the nation- a burning desire to go, to move, to get under way, anyplace, away from any Here. They spoke quietly of how they wanted...

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John Steinbeck

In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die,...

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John Steinbeck

The words are meaningless except in terms of feeling. Does anyone act as the result of thought or does feeling stimulate action and sometimes thought implement it.

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John Steinbeck

Strength and success - they are above morality, above criticism. It seems, then, that it is not what you do, but how you do it and what you call it. Is there a check in men, deep in them, that stops or...

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John Steinbeck

There is more beauty in truth, even if it is a dreadful beauty. The storytellers at the city gate twist life so that it looks sweet to the lazy and the stupid and the weak, and this only strengthens their...

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John Steinbeck

There is nothing pleasanter than spading when the ground is soft and damp.

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John Steinbeck

The trash and litter of nature disappears into the ground with the passing of each year, but man's litter has more permanence.

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John Steinbeck

Don't worry about losing. If it is right, it happens - The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

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John Steinbeck

Lennie said quietly, "It ain't no lie. We're gonna do it. Gonna get a little place an' live on the fatta the lan'.

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John Steinbeck

And this you can know- fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe.

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John Steinbeck

I seen it over an' over—a guy talkin' to another guy and it don't make no difference if he don't hear or understand. The thing is, they're talkin', or they're settin' still not talkin'. It don't make...

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John Steinbeck

I know three things will never be believed - the true, the probable, and the logical

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John Steinbeck

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.

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John Steinbeck

Ah, the prayers of the millions, how they must fight and destroy each other on their way to the throne of God.

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John Steinbeck

A water snake glided smoothly up the pool, twisting its periscope head from side to side; and it swam the length of the pool and came to the legs of a motionless heron that stood in the shadows. A silent...

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John Steinbeck

Ever'body's askin' that. "What we comin' to?" Seems to me we don't never come to nothin'. Always on the way.

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John Steinbeck

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...

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John Steinbeck

To a man born without conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is...

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John Steinbeck

We could live offa the fatta the lan'.

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John Steinbeck

The ancient commission of the writer has not changed. He is charged with exposing our many grievous faults and failures, with dredging up to the light our dark and dangerous dreams for the purpose of improvement.

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John Steinbeck

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.

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John Steinbeck

I don’t mind getting smacked on the chin. I just don’t want to get nibbled to death. There’s a difference.

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John Steinbeck

When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influences and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror.

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John Steinbeck

Such is the prestige of the Nobel Award and of this place where I stand that I am impelled, not to speak like a grateful and apologetic mouse, but to roar like a lion out of pride in my profession and...

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John Steinbeck

Socialism is just another form of religion, and thus delusional.

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John Steinbeck

When the virus of restlessness begins to take possession of a wayward man, and the road away from Here seems broad and straight and sweet, the victim must first find himself a good and sufficient reason...

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John Steinbeck

The nicest thing in the world you can do for anybody is let them help you.

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John Steinbeck

This is the thing to bomb. This is the beginning—from "I" to "we". If you who own the things people must have could understand this, you might preserve yourself. If you could separate causes from results,...

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John Steinbeck

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policies and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.

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John Steinbeck

When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle...

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John Steinbeck

Only mediocrity escapes criticism.

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John Steinbeck

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness? You only truly, deeply appreciate and are grateful for something when you compare and contrast it to something worse.

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John Steinbeck

A good writer always works at the impossible.There is another kind who pulls in his horizons, drops his mind as one lowers rifle sights.

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John Steinbeck

A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then-the glory-so that a cricket...

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John Steinbeck

A guy needs somebody―to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you. I tell ya, I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick.

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John Steinbeck

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...

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John Steinbeck

And finally, in our time a beard is the one thing that a woman cannot do better than a man, or if she can her success is assured only in a circus.

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John Steinbeck

I have written a great many stories and I still don't know how to go about it except to write it and take my chances.

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John Steinbeck

A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good...

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John Steinbeck

The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From...

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John Steinbeck

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...

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John Steinbeck

Trouble with mice is you always kill 'em.

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John Steinbeck

His ear heard more than what was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought.

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John Steinbeck

Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America.

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John Steinbeck

And, of course, people are interested only in themselves. If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen.

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John Steinbeck

Do you take pride in your hurt? Does it make you seem large and tragic? ...Well, think about it. Maybe you're playing a part on a great stage with only yourself as audience.

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John Steinbeck

This was an evil beyond thinking. The killing of a man was not so evil as the killing of a boat. For a boat does not have sons, and a boat cannot protect itself, and a wounded boat does not heal.

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John Steinbeck

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do...Try to be better than yourself.

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John Steinbeck

Men really need sea-monsters in their personal oceans. An ocean without its unnamed monsters would be like a completely dreamless sleep.

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John Steinbeck

For there are two possible reactions to social ostracism - either a man emerges determined to be better, purer, and kindlier or he goes bad, challenges the world and does even worse things. The last is...

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John Steinbeck

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.

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John Steinbeck

You can boast about anything if it's all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast.

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John Steinbeck

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.

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John Steinbeck

I don't think there is a single sentence in this whole book [East of Eden] that does not either develop character, carry on the story or provide necessary background.

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John Steinbeck

To finish is a sadness to a writer - a little death. He puts the last word down and it is done. But it isn't really done. The story goes on and leaves the writer behind, for no story is ever done.

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John Steinbeck

They must be real people. And this means that every word in every line of speech must be accurate and full of some kind of meaning which stretches not only forward in the book but stems from before in...

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John Steinbeck

I do want to make it very convincing. And the best way to do that is to put most of it in dialogue.

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John Steinbeck

Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on.

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John Steinbeck

It is the hour of pearl—the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself.

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John Steinbeck

Money is not nice. Money got no friends but more money.

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John Steinbeck

To be alive at all is to have scars.

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John Steinbeck

The final weapon is the brain, all else is supplemental.

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John Steinbeck

If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it-bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave...

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John Steinbeck

You know most people live ninety per cent in the past, seven per cent in the present, and that only leaves them three per cent for the future.

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John Steinbeck

We can shoot rockets into space but we can't cure anger or discontent.

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John Steinbeck

Only God sees the sparrow fall, but even God doesn't do anything about it.

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John Steinbeck

Your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person-a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

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John Steinbeck

Out of all this struggle a good thing is going to grow. That makes it worthwhile.

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John Steinbeck

Time interval is a strange and contradictory matter in the mind. It would be reasonable to suppose that a routine time or an eventless time would seem interminable. It should be so, but it is not. It is...

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John Steinbeck

In literary criticism the critic has no choice but to make over the victim of his attention into something the size and shape of himself.

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John Steinbeck

He was born in fury and he lived in lightning. Tom came headlong into life. He was a giant in joy and enthusiasms. He didn't discover the world and its people, he created them. When he read his father's...

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John Steinbeck

He learned that when people are very poor they still have something to give and the impulse to give it.

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John Steinbeck

Maybe-- maybe love makes you suspicious and doubting. Is it true that when you love a woman you are never sure-- never sure of her because you aren't sure of yourself?

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John Steinbeck

[He] fell right into the oldest conviction in the world-- that the girl you are in love with can't possibly be anything but true and honest.

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John Steinbeck

Maybe we all have in us a secret pond where evil and ugly things germinate and grow strong. But this culture is fences, and the swimming brood climbs up only to fall back. Might it not be that in the dark...

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John Steinbeck

There are no ugly questions except those clothed in condescension.

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John Steinbeck

When a man says he does not want to speak of something he usually means he can think of nothing else.

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John Steinbeck

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.

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John Steinbeck

I am sifting my memories, the way men pan the dirt under a barroom floor for the bits of gold dust that fall between the cracks. It's small mining-- small mining. You're too young a man to be panning memories,...

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John Steinbeck

But 'Thou mayest!'! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course...

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John Steinbeck

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...

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John Steinbeck

You're getting well,' Samuel said. 'Some people think it's an insult to the glory of their sickness to get well. But the time poultice is no respecter of glories. Everyone gets well if he waits around.

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John Steinbeck

Perhaps the best conversationalist in the world is the man who helps others to talk.

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John Steinbeck

A book is like a man - clever and dull, brave and cowardly, beautiful and ugly. For every flowering thought there will be a page like a wet and mangy mongrel, and for every looping flight a tap on the...

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John Steinbeck

At one point, as Samuel urges Adam to raise his boys well regardless of the blood that might be in them, Adam tells him, "You can't make a race horse of a pig." Samuel replies, "No, but you can make a...

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John Steinbeck

The people in flight from the terror behind-strange things happen to them, some bitterly cruel and some so beautiful that the faith is refired forever.

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John Steinbeck

Do you take pride in your hurt?' Samuel asked. 'Does it make you seem large and tragic? . . . Maybe you're playing a part on a great stage with only yourself as audience . . . there's all that fallow land,...

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John Steinbeck

The sad ones are those who waste their energy in trying to hold it back, for they can only feel bitterness in loss and no joy in gain.

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John Steinbeck

And when that crop grew, and was harvested, no man had crumbled a hot clod in his fingers and let the earth sift past his fingertips. No man had touched the seed, or lusted for the growth. Men ate what...

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John Steinbeck

A question is a trap and an answer is your foot in it.

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John Steinbeck

And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.

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John Steinbeck

Some men are friends with the whole world in their hearts, and there are others that hate themselves and spread their hatred around like butter on hot bread.

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John Steinbeck

My imagination will get me a passport to hell one day.

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John Steinbeck

Yes, you should talk," he said. "Sometimes a sad man can talk the sadness right out through his mouth. Sometimes a killin' man can talk the murder right out of his mouth.

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John Steinbeck

It’s a hard thing to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it.

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John Steinbeck

When you collect marine animals there are certain flat worms so delicate that they are almost impossible to catch whole for they will break and tatter under the touch. You must let them ooze and crawl...

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John Steinbeck

Men all do about the same thing when they wake up.

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John Steinbeck

In poverty she is envious. In riches she may be a snob. Money does not change the sickness, only the symptoms

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John Steinbeck

New York is an ugly city, a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal, its politics are used to frighten children, its traffic is madness, its competition is murderous. But there is one thing about it - once...

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John Steinbeck

They're a dark people with a gift for suffering way past their deserving. It's said that without whiskey to soak and soften the world, they'd kill themselves. (Irish)

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John Steinbeck

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.

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John Steinbeck

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

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John Steinbeck

Thou mayest rule over sin.

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John Steinbeck

He had said, "I am a man," and that meant certain things to Juana. It meant that he was half insane and half god. It meant that Kino would drive his strength against a mountain and plunge his strength...

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John Steinbeck

Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all else, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word.

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John Steinbeck

I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.

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John Steinbeck

People need responsibility. They resist assuming it, but they cannot get along without it.

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John Steinbeck

Why don't you go on west to California? There's work there, and it never gets cold. Why, you can reach out anywhere and pick an orange. Why, there's always some kind of crop to work in. Why don't you go...

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John Steinbeck

I think I love you, Cal." -Abra I'm not good." -Cal Because you're not good." -Abra

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John Steinbeck

The Mojave is a big desert and a frightening one. It’s as though nature tested a man for endurance and constancy to prove whether he was good enough to get to California.

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John Steinbeck

Once you have lived in New York and made it your home, no place else is good enough

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John Steinbeck

Death was a friend, and sleep was Death's brother.

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John Steinbeck

I wonder why progress looks so much like destruction.

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John Steinbeck

Some people there are who, being grown; forget the horrible task of learning to read. It is perhaps the greatest single effort that the human undertakes, and he must do it as a child.

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John Steinbeck

It seems to me Montana is a great splash of grandeur. The scale is huge but not overpowering. The land is rich with grass and color, and the mountains are the kind I would create if mountains were ever...

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John Steinbeck

A Texan outside of Texas is a foreigner.

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John Steinbeck

No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe

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John Steinbeck

The camera need not be a cold mechanical device. Like the pen, it is as good as the man who uses it. It can be the extension of mind and heart...

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John Steinbeck

Learning to read is probably the most difficult and revolutionary thing that happens to the human brain and if you don't believe that, watch an illiterate adult try to do it.

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John Steinbeck

I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.

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John Steinbeck

Some days are born ugly. From the very first light they are no damn good what ever the weather, and everbody knows it. No one knows what causes this, but on such a day people resist getting out of bed...

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John Steinbeck

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...

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John Steinbeck

I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human...

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John Steinbeck

It has always seemed strange to me... the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits...

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John Steinbeck

It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.

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John Steinbeck

A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ.

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John Steinbeck

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.

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John Steinbeck

If you're in trouble, or hurt or need - go to the poor people. They're the only ones that'll help - the only ones.

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John Steinbeck

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.

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John Steinbeck

Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased.

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John Steinbeck

I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.

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John Steinbeck

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.

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John Steinbeck

No man really knows about other human beings. The best he can do is to suppose that they are like himself.

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John Steinbeck

In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.

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John Steinbeck

Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts... perhaps the fear of a loss of power.

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John Steinbeck

Man is the only kind of varmint sets his own trap, baits it, then steps in it.

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John Steinbeck

Give a critic an inch, he'll write a play.

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John Steinbeck

Men do change, and change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.

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John Steinbeck

I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything.

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John Steinbeck

I've lived in good climate, and it bores the hell out of me. I like weather rather than climate.

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John Steinbeck

I am impelled, not to squeak like a grateful and apologetic mouse, but to roar like a lion out of pride in my profession.

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John Steinbeck

One can find so many pains when the rain is falling.

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John Steinbeck

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.

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John Steinbeck

Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the bastard.

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John Steinbeck

We spend our time searching for security and hate it when we get it.

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John Steinbeck

It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure on the world.

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John Steinbeck

No one wants advice - only corroboration.

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John Steinbeck

Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, yet hunger gnaws you. You have been loved, but your yearning wanders in new fields. And to prod all these there's time, the...

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John Steinbeck

It has always been my private conviction that any man who puts his intelligence up against a fish and loses had it coming.

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John Steinbeck

In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable.

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John Steinbeck

The discipline of the written word punishes both stupidity and dishonesty.

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John Steinbeck

I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature.

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John Steinbeck

Time is the only critic without ambition.

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John Steinbeck

I have owed you this letter for a very long time-but my fingers have avoided the pencil as though it were an old and poisoned tool.

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John Steinbeck

The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.

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John Steinbeck

I have never smuggled anything in my life. Why, then, do I feel an uneasy sense of guilt on approaching a customs barrier?

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John Steinbeck

Syntax, my lad. It has been restored to the highest place in the republic.

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John Steinbeck

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

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John Steinbeck

Writers are a little below clowns and a little above trained seals.

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John Steinbeck

You know how advice is. You only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyway.

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John Steinbeck

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.

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John Steinbeck

It is true that we are weak and sick and ugly and quarrelsome but if that is all we ever were, we would millenniums ago have disappeared from the face of the earth.

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John Steinbeck

Sectional football games have the glory and the despair of war, and when a Texas team takes the field against a foreign state, it is an army with banners.

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John Steinbeck

These words dropped into my childish mind as if you should accidentally drop a ring into a deep well. I did not think of them much at the time, but there came a day in my life when the ring was fished...

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John Steinbeck

So in our pride we ordered for breakfast an omelet, toast and coffee and what has just arrived is a tomato salad with onions, a dish of pickles, a big slice of watermelon and two bottles of cream soda.

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John Steinbeck

Somewhere in the world there is a defeat for everyone. Some are destroyed by defeat, and some made small and mean by victory. Greatness lives in one who triumphs equally over defeat and victory.

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John Steinbeck

I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion.

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John Steinbeck

I have seen too many men go down, and I never permit myself to forget that one day, through accident or under the charge of a younger, stronger knight, I too will go down.

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John Steinbeck

Act out being alive, like a play. And after a while, a long while, it will be true.

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John Steinbeck

The comfortable people in tight houses felt pity at first, and then distaste, and finally hatred for the migrant people.

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John Steinbeck

I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer -- and what trees and seasons smelled like -- how people looked...

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John Steinbeck

A strange species we are, We can stand anything God and nature can throw at us save only plenty. If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much, and I would have it on its knees, miserable,...

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John Steinbeck

Maybe ever'body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.

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John Steinbeck

There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stuff people do.

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John Steinbeck

I wrote The Grapes of Wrath in one hundred days, but many years of preparation preceded it.

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John Steinbeck

Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page a day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

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John Steinbeck

Guy don't need no sense to be a nice fella. Seems to me sometimes it jus' works the other way around. Take a real smart guy and he ain't hardly ever a nice fella.

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John Steinbeck

There are as many worlds as there are kinds of days, and as an opal changes its colors and its fire to match the nature of a day, so do I.

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John Steinbeck

If a man ordered a beer milkshake he'd better do it in a town where he wasn't known.

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John Steinbeck

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.

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John Steinbeck

It was deeply a part of Lee's kindness and understanding that man's right to kill himself is inviolable, but sometimes a friend can make it unnecessary

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John Steinbeck

Fella says today, 'Depression is over. I seen a jackrabbit, an' they wasn't nobody after him.' An' another fella says, 'That aint the reason. Can't afford to kill jackrabbits no more. Catch 'em and milk...

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John Steinbeck

In writing, habit seems to be a much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration.

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John Steinbeck

...no gift will ever buy back a man's love when you have removed his self-love.

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John Steinbeck

We don't take a trip. A trip takes us.

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John Steinbeck

The new American finds his challenge and his love in the traffic-choked streets, skies nested in smog, choking with the acids of industry, the screech of rubber and houses leashed in against one another...

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John Steinbeck

It isn't like the rest of the country - it is like a nation itself - more tolerant than the rest in a curious way. Littleness gets swallowed up here. All the viciousness that makes other cities vicious...

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John Steinbeck

Then it is better, sir, to love whom one cannot have?" "Probably better," Lancelot said. "Certainly safer.

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John Steinbeck

When we get these thruways across the whole country, as we will and must, it will be possible to drive from New York to California without seeing a single thing.

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John Steinbeck

I suppose our capacity for self-delusion is boundless.

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John Steinbeck

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...

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John Steinbeck

For every man in the world functions to the best of his ability, and no one does less than his best, no matter what he may think about it.

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John Steinbeck

Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish.

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John Steinbeck

Men who have created new fruits in the world cannot create a system whereby those fruits may be eaten.

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John Steinbeck

You're buying years of work, toil in the sun; you're buying a sorrow that can't talk.

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John Steinbeck

Must hunger become anger and anger fury before anything will be done?

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John Steinbeck

He had an idea that even when beaten he could steal a little victory by laughing at defeat.

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John Steinbeck

And the people listened, and their faces were quiet with listening. The story tellers, gathering attention into their tales, spoke in great rhythms, spoke in great words because the tales were great, and...

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John Steinbeck

If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced that there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely...

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John Steinbeck

If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another.

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John Steinbeck

Prayer never brought in no side-meat. Takes a shoat to bring in pork.

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John Steinbeck

People are felt rather than seen after the first few moments...

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John Steinbeck

The last clear definite function of men—muscles aching to work, minds aching to create beyond the single need—this is man.

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John Steinbeck

Again it might have been the American tendency in travel. One goes, not so much to see but to tell afterward.

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John Steinbeck

A plan is a real thing, and things projected are experienced. A plan once made and visualized becomes reality along with other realities—never to be destroyed but easily to be attacked.

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John Steinbeck

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.

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John Steinbeck

Lord, how the day passes! It's like a life - so quickly when we don't watch it and so slowly when we do.

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John Steinbeck

No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselves that it is true and true of us.

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John Steinbeck

The proofs that God does not exist are very strong, but in lots of people they are not as strong as the feeling that He does.

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John Steinbeck

We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.

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John Steinbeck

Muscles aching to work, minds aching to create - this is man.

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John Steinbeck

This you may say of man - when theories change and crash, when schools, philosophies, when narrow dark alleys of thought, national, religious, economic, grow and disintegrate, man reaches, stumbles forward,...

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John Steinbeck

Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of a human need for it, and it has not changed except to become more needed

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John Steinbeck

Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down.

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John Steinbeck

You never oughta drink water when it ain't runnin'.

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John Steinbeck

Well, I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy. I just like to know what your interest is.

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John Steinbeck

I can still tend the rabbits, George? I didn't mean no harm, George.

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John Steinbeck

Maybe it's true that we are all descended from the restless, the nervous, the criminals, the arguers and brawlers, but also the brave and independent and generous. If our ancestors had not been that, they...

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John Steinbeck

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike.

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John Steinbeck

There is nothing in the world like the first taste of beer.

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John Steinbeck

I've done my damndest to rip a reader's nerves to rags, I don't want him satisfied.

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John Steinbeck

We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome.

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John Steinbeck

Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.

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John Steinbeck

A day, a livelong day, is not one thing but many. It changes not only in growing light toward zenith and decline again, but in texture and mood, in tone and meaning, warped by a thousand factors of season,...

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John Steinbeck

A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn't telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of...

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John Steinbeck

I think today if we forbade our illiterate children to touch the wonderful things of our literature, perhaps they might steal them and find secret joy.

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John Steinbeck

He never forgot anything but he never bothered to arrange his memories. -Hazel, Cannery Row

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John Steinbeck

You got a God. Don't make no difference if you don' know what he looks like.

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John Steinbeck

Our people are good people; our people are kind people. Pray God some day kind people won't all be poor.

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John Steinbeck

They's times when how you feel got to be kep' to yourself.

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John Steinbeck

Says he foun' he jus' got a little piece of a great big soul. Says a wilderness ain't no good, 'cause his little piece of a soul wasn't no good 'less it was with the rest, an' was whole.

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John Steinbeck

The first grave. Now we're getting someplace. Houses and children and graves, that's home, Tom. Those are the things that hold a man down.

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John Steinbeck

She had a dour Presbyterian mind and a code of morals that pinned down and beat the brains out of nearly everything that was pleasant to do.

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John Steinbeck

Doc still loved true things but he knew that it was not a general love and it could be a very dangerous mistress.

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John Steinbeck

If you want to keep a friend, never test him.

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John Steinbeck

...Samuel rode lightly on top of a book and he balanced happily among ideas the way a man rides white rapids in a canoe. But Tom got into a book, crawled and groveled between the covers, tunneled like...

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John Steinbeck

In Spanish there is a word for which I can't find a counterword in English. It is the verb VACILAR... It does not mean vacillating at all. If one is vacilando, he is going somewhere, but does not greatly...

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John Steinbeck

You know what it is? San Francisco is a golden handcuff with the key thrown away.

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John Steinbeck

Once Charley fell in love with a dachshund, a romance racially unsuitable, physically ridiculous, and mechanically impossible. But all these problems Charley ignored. He loved deeply and tried dogfully.

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John Steinbeck

If we could learn to like ourselves, even a little, maybe our cruelties and angers might melt away.

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John Steinbeck

With knowledge there is no hope,... without hope I would sit motionless, rusting like unused armor.

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John Steinbeck

A man on a horse is spiritually, as well as physically, bigger then a man on foot.

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John Steinbeck

We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say — and to feel — "Yes, that’s the way it is, or...

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John Steinbeck

...men in fear and hunger destroy their stomachs in the fight to secure certain food, where men hungering for love destroy everything lovable about them.... In the world ruled by tigers with ulcers, rutted...

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John Steinbeck

He is so stupid you can't trust him with an idea.

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John Steinbeck

A book is like a man - clever and dull, brave and cowardly, beautiful and ugly.

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John Steinbeck

After the bare requisites to living and reproducing, man wants most to leave some record of himself, a proof, perhaps, that he has really existed. He leaves his proof on wood, on stone or on the lives...

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John Steinbeck

He said, "I am a man," and that meant certain things to Juana. It meant that he was half insane and half god.

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John Steinbeck

for how can you remember the feel of pleasure or pain or choking emotion? You can remember only that you had them.

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John Steinbeck

Do you think it's funny to be so serious when I'm not even out of high school?' she asked. 'I don't see how it could be any other way,' said Lee. 'Laughter comes later, like wisdom teeth, and laughter...

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John Steinbeck

The clouds appeared and went away, and in a while they did not try anymore.

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John Steinbeck

You've seen the sun flatten and take strange shapes just before it sinks in the ocean. Do you have to tell yourself every time that it's an illusion caused by atmospheric dust and light distorted by the...

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John Steinbeck

A town is a thing like a colonial animal. A town has a nervous system and a head and shoulders and feet. A town is a thing separate from all other towns alike. And a town has a whole emotion. How news...

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John Steinbeck

He drank too much when he could get it, ate too much when it was there, talked too much all the time.

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John Steinbeck

But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if...

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John Steinbeck

Well, I remember this girl. I am not whole without her. I am not alive without her. When she was with me I was more alive than I have ever been, and not only when she was pleasant either. Even when we...

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John Steinbeck

There are people who will say that this whole account is a lie, but a thing isn't necessarily a lie even if it didn't necessarily happen.

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John Steinbeck

[Cannery Row's] inhabitants are, as the man once said, 'whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches,' by which he meant everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, 'saints...

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John Steinbeck

All we got is the family unbroke.

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John Steinbeck

For it is my opinion that we enclose and celebrate the freaks of our nation and our civilization. Yellowstone National Park is no more representative of America than is Disneyland.

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John Steinbeck

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 almost always leads to love.

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John Steinbeck

You're bound to get idears if you go thinkin' about stuff

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John Steinbeck

Thou mayest rule over sin,’ Lee. That’s it. I do not believe all men are destroyed. I can name you a dozen who were not, and they are the ones the world lives by. It is true of the spirit as it is...

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John Steinbeck

As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.

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John Steinbeck

If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.

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John Steinbeck

And her joy was nearly like sorrow.

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John Steinbeck

The Hebrew word, the word timshel - 'Thou mayest' - that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open...Why, that makes a man great...He can choose his course...

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John Steinbeck

It would be absurd if we did not understand both angels and devils, since we invented them.

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John Steinbeck

Don't make everyone know about your sadness.

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John Steinbeck

He saw something that makes a man doubtful of the constancy of the realities outside himself. It was the shocking discovery that makes a man wonder if I've missed this, what else have I failed to see?

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John Steinbeck

So many old and lovely things are stored in the world's attic because we don't want them around us and we don't dare throw them out.

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John Steinbeck

He never fell, never slipped back, never flew.

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John Steinbeck

I was born lost and take no pleasure in being found.

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John Steinbeck

When two people meet, each one is changed by the other so you've got two new people.

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John Steinbeck

These too are of a burning color--not orange, not gold, but if pure gold were liquid and could raise a cream, that golden cream might be like the color of the poppies.

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John Steinbeck

When a child first catches adults out -- when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not always have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true,...

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John Steinbeck

The quality of owning freezes you forever in "I," and cuts you off forever from the "we.

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John Steinbeck

It is astounding to find that the belly of every black and evil thing is as white as snow. And it is saddening to discover how the concealed parts of angels are leporous.

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John Steinbeck

I'll want to hear,' Samuel said. 'I eat stories like grapes.

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John Steinbeck

And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.

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John Steinbeck

She wasn't happy, but then she wasn't unhappy. She wasn't anything. But I don't believe anyone is a nothing. There has to be something inside, if only to keep the skin from collapsing. This vacant eye,...

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John Steinbeck

Anything that just costs money is cheap.

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John Steinbeck

An unbelieved truth can hurt a man much more than a lie. It takes great courage to back truth unacceptable to our times. There's a punishment for it, and it's usually crucifixion.

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John Steinbeck

Free men cannot start a war, but once it is started, they can fight on in defeat. Herd men, followers of a leader, cannot do that, and so it is always the herd men who win battles and the free men who...

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John Steinbeck

I have no choice of living or dying, you see, sir--but I do have a choice of how I do it. If I tell them not to fight, they will be sorry, but they will fight. If I tell them to fight, they will be glad,...

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John Steinbeck

A man with a beard was always a little suspect anyway. You couldn't say you wore a beard because you liked a beard. People didn't like you for telling the truth. You had to say you had a scar so you couldn't...

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John Steinbeck

You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.

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John Steinbeck

Courage and fear were one thing too.

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John Steinbeck

We have not known a single great scientist who could not discourse freely and interestingly with a child. Can it be that haters of clarity have nothing to say, have observed nothing, have no clear picture...

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John Steinbeck

I have always lived violently, drunk hugely, eaten too much or not at all, slept around the clock or missed two nights of sleeping, worked too hard and too long in glory, or slobbed for a time in utter...

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John Steinbeck

It occurs to me that just as the Carthaginians hired mercenaries to do their fighting for them, we Americans being in mercenaries to do our hard and humble work. I hope we may not be overwhelmed one day...

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John Steinbeck

Literature was not promulgated by a pale and emasculated critical priesthood singing their litanies in empty churches - nor is it a game for the cloistered elect, the tinhorn mendicants of low calorie...

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John Steinbeck

We only have one story. All novels, all poetry are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil.

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John Steinbeck

I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. . . . Humans are caught—in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness...

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John Steinbeck

I have named the destroyers of nations: comfort, plenty, and security - out of which grow a bored and slothful cynicism, in which rebellion against the world as it is, and myself as I am, are submerged...

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John Steinbeck

What some people find in religion a writer may find in his craft...a kind of breaking through to glory.

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John Steinbeck

I am a little man and this is a little town, but there must be a spark in little men that can burst into flame.

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John Steinbeck

she knew she could help him best by being silent and by being near

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John Steinbeck

Perhaps it takes courage to raise children..

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John Steinbeck

Many are the stories I have heard about myself. I have mistresses I have never met. When I hear that I am a sodomist and a zoophalist then I shall know that I have reached the high point of fame, but I...

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John Steinbeck

Books are the best friends you can have; they inform you, and entertain you, and they don't talk back.

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John Steinbeck

The bank - the monster has to have profits all the time. It can't wait. It'll die. No, taxes go on. When the monster stops growing, it dies. It can't stay one size.

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John Steinbeck

A writer lives in awe of words, for they can be cruel or kind, and they can change their meanings right in front of you. They pick up flavors and odors like butter in a refrigerator.

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John Steinbeck

When you're huntin' somepin you're a hunter, an' you're strong. Can't nobody beat a hunter. But when you get hunted - that's different. Somepin happens to you. You ain't strong: maybe you're fierce, but...

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John Steinbeck

The design of a book is the pattern of a reality controlled and shaped by the mind of a writer.

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John Steinbeck

People do not want advice - they want corroboration.

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John Steinbeck

The craft or art of writing is the clumsy attempt to find symbols for the wordlessness.

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John Steinbeck

I believe that love cannot be bought except with love.

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John Steinbeck

A man so painfully in love is capable of self-torture beyond belief.

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John Steinbeck

When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day's work...

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John Steinbeck

Farewell has a sweet sound of reluctance. Good-by is short and final, a word with teeth sharp to bite through the string that ties past to the future.

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John Steinbeck

There's a responsibility in being a person. It's more than just taking up space where air would be.

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John Steinbeck

How can I teach my boys the value and beauty of language and thus communication when the President himself reads westerns exclusively and cannot put together a simple English sentence? (John Steinbeck,...

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John Steinbeck

A wife is like a children's movie; always under-appreciated and without either, life would be incomplete.

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John Steinbeck

This I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected.

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John Steinbeck

Orange and speckled and fluted nudibranchs slide gracefully over the rocks, their skirts waving like the dresses of Spanish dancers.

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John Steinbeck

You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself.

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John Steinbeck

It is one of the triumphs of the human that he can know a thing and still not believe it.

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John Steinbeck

I wonder how many people I've looked at all my life and never seen.

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John Steinbeck

It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.

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John Steinbeck

Men seem to be born with a debt they can never pay no matter how hard they try.

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John Steinbeck

A man without words is a man without thought.

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John Steinbeck

But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed - because 'Thou mayest.

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John Steinbeck

I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart. I guess a loving woman is indestructible.

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John Steinbeck

Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper.

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John Steinbeck

One must withdraw for a time from life in order to set down that picture.

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John Steinbeck

But I think that because they trusted themselves and respected themselves as individuals, because they knew beyond doubt that they were valuable and potentially moral units -- because of this they could...

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John Steinbeck

It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.

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John Steinbeck

To the heavens on the wings of a pig.

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John Steinbeck

Men don't get knocked out, or I mean they can fight back against big things. What kills them is erosion; they get nudged into failure. They get slowly scared.[...]It's slow. It rots out your guts.

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John Steinbeck

There's an awful lot of inactive kindness which is nothing but laziness, not wanting any trouble, confusion, or effort.

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John Steinbeck

I shall revenge myself in the cruelest way you can imagine. I shall forget it.

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John Steinbeck

What a frightening thing is the human, a mass of gauges and dials and registers, and we can only read a few and those perhaps not accurately.

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John Steinbeck

There's something desirable about anything you're used to as opposed to something you're not.

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John Steinbeck

...intentions, good or bad, are not enough. There's luck or fate or something else that takes over...

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John Steinbeck

Nobody changes. Nobody gets hurt.

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John Steinbeck

When a condition or a problem becomes too great, humans have the protection of not thinking about it. But it goes inward and minces up with a lot of other things already there and what comes out is discontent...

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John Steinbeck

I guess I'm trying to say, Grab anything that goes by. It may not come around again.

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John Steinbeck

Can you honestly love a dishonest thing?

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John Steinbeck

Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It’s just in their head. They’re all the time talkin’...

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John Steinbeck

People who are most afraid of their dreams convince themselves they don't dream at all.

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John Steinbeck

There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good...

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John Steinbeck

I think bullfights are for men who aren't very brave and wish they were. If you saw one you'll know what I mean. Remember after all the cape work when the bull tries to kill something that isn't there?...

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John Steinbeck

We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the neverending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal....

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John Steinbeck

It is not good to want a thing too much. It sometimes drives the luck away. You must want it just enough, and you must be very tactful with Gods or the gods.

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John Steinbeck

Fella in business got to lie an' cheat, but he calls it somepin else. That's what's important. You go steal that tire an' you're a thief, but he tried to steal your four dollars for a busted tire. They...

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John Steinbeck

I am happy to report that in the war between reality and romance, reality is not the stronger.

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John Steinbeck

life passes by in a wink so try to never miss a moment of it

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John Steinbeck

I believe there are techniques of the human mind whereby, in its dark deep, problems are examined, rejected or accepted. Such activities sometimes concern facets a man does not know he has. How often one...

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John Steinbeck

All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.

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John Steinbeck

I nearly always write just as I nearly always breathe. - John Steinbeck

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John Steinbeck

It's almost impossible to read a fine thing without wanting to do a fine thing.

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John Steinbeck

Any man of reasonable intelligence can make money if that's what he wants. Mostly it's women or clothes or admiration he really wants and they deflect him.

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John Steinbeck

Are cats strange animals or do they so resemble us that we find them curious as we do monkeys?

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John Steinbeck

A man who tells secrets or stories must think of who is hearing or reading, for a story has as many versions as it has readers. Everyone takes what he wants or can from it and thus changes it to his measure....

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John Steinbeck

Let's say that when I was a little baby, and all my bones soft and malleable, I was put in a small Episcopal cruciform box and so took my shape. Then, when I broke out of the box, the way a baby chick...

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John Steinbeck

Good God, what a mess of draggle-tail impulses a man is--and a woman too, I guess.

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John Steinbeck

For the most part people are not curious except about themselves.

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John Steinbeck

Like most modern people, I don't believe in prophecy or magic and then spend half my time practicing it.

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John Steinbeck

Hard-covered books break up friendships. You loan a hard covered book to a friend and when he doesn’t return it you get mad at him. It makes you mean and petty. But twenty-five cent books are different.

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John Steinbeck

All Americans believe that they are born fishermen. For a man to admit a distaste for fishing would be like denouncing mother-love or hating moonlight.

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John Steinbeck

I should have known […] I am the rain. […] I am the land […] and I am the rain. The grass will grow out of me in a little while.

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John Steinbeck

[Man] is the only animal who lives outside of himself, whose drive is in external things—property, houses, money, concepts of power. He lives in his cities and his factories, in his business and job...

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John Steinbeck

This is beyond understanding." said the king. "You are the wisest man alive. You know what is preparing. Why do you not make a plan to save yourself?" And Merlin said quietly, "Because I am wise. In the...

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John Steinbeck

A good writer always works at the impossible.

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John Steinbeck

Look now -- in all of history men have been taught that killing of men is an evil thing not to be countenanced. Any man who kills must be destroyed because this is a great sin, maybe the worst we know....

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John Steinbeck

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.

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John Steinbeck

If you want to destroy a nation, give it too much - make it greedy, miserable and sick.

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John Steinbeck

A stilted heron labored up into the air and pounded down the river.

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John Steinbeck

Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

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John Steinbeck

Guys like us got nothing to look ahead to

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John Steinbeck

No one who is young is ever going to be old.

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John Steinbeck

There are some times...when the love for people is strong and warm like a sorrow.

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John Steinbeck

The free exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.

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John Steinbeck

In the streets of New York between seven and nine in the morning you will see the slow procession of dog and downer proceeding from street to tree to hydrant to trash basket. They are apartment dogs. They...

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John Steinbeck

If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he needs it 'cause he feels awful poor inside hisself, and if he's poor in hisself, there ain't no million acres gonna make him feel rich,...

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John Steinbeck

The land is so much more than its analysis.

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John Steinbeck

It is not enough to say that we cannot know or judge because all the information is not in. The process of gathering knowledge does not lead to knowing. A child's world spreads only a little beyond his...

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John Steinbeck

Thoughts are slow and deep and golden in the morning.

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John Steinbeck

'He's got a can up there,' Richard said.

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John Steinbeck

The literature of science is filled with answers found when the question propounded had an entirely different direction and end.

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John Steinbeck

Life cannot be cut off quickly. One cannot be dead until the things he changed are dead. His effect is the only evidence of his life. While there remains even a plaintive memory, a person cannot be cut...

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John Steinbeck

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.

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John Steinbeck

It is better to sit in appreciative contemplation of a world in which beauty is eternally supported on a foundation of ugliness: cut out the support, and beauty will sink from sight.

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John Steinbeck

I know a little bit about a great many things and not enough about any one to make a living in these times.

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John Steinbeck

Give me a used Bible and I will, I think, be able to tell you about a man by the places that are edged with the dirt of seeking fingers.

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John Steinbeck

I guess there are never enough books.

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John Steinbeck

Perhaps the less we have, the more we are required to brag.

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John Steinbeck

It is my experience that in some areas [my poodle] Charley is more intelligent that I am, but in others he is abysmally ignorant. He can't read, can't drive a car, and has no grasp of mathematics. But...

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John Steinbeck

Sir, this is a unique dog. He does not live by tooth or fang. He respects the right of cats to be cats although he doesn't admire them. He turns his steps rather than disturb an earnest caterpillar. His...

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John Steinbeck

He was born in Bercy on the outskirts of Paris and trained in France, and while he knows a little Poodle-English, he responds quickly only to commands in French. Otherwise he has to translate, and that...

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John Steinbeck

Charley is a mind-reading dog. There have been many trips in his lifetime, and often he has to be left at home. He knows we are going long before the suitcase has come out, and he paces and worries and...

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John Steinbeck

Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. If Casy knowed, why, I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad...

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John Steinbeck

I wonder why it is that when I plan a route too carefully, it goes to pieces, whereas if I blunder along in blissful ignorance aimed in a fancied direction I get through with no trouble.

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John Steinbeck

How can we live without our lives? How will we know it's us without our past?

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John Steinbeck

All men are moral. Only their neighbors are not.

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John Steinbeck

The break would never come as long as fear could turn to wrath.

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John Steinbeck

I carry a gun cause a cop is too heavy.

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John Steinbeck

We know what we got, and we don't care whether you know it or not.

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John Steinbeck

Dear Lord,' he said. 'let me be like Aron. Don’t make me mean. I don’t want to be. If you will let everybody like me, why, I’ll give you anything in the world, and if I haven’t got it, why, I’ll...

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John Steinbeck

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...

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John Steinbeck

Don't you love Jesus?' Well, I thought an' I thought an' finally I says, 'No, I don't know nobody name' Jesus. I know a bunch of stories, but I only love people.

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John Steinbeck

It is possible, even probable, to be told a truth about a place, to accept it, to know it and at the same time not to know anything about it.

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John Steinbeck

We, or at least I, can have no conception of human life and human thought in a hundred years or fifty years. Perhaps my greatest wisdom is the knowledge that I do not know. The sad ones are those who waste...

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John Steinbeck

I have lost all sense of home, having moved about so much. It means to me now--only that place where the books are kept.

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John Steinbeck

Intention, good or bad, is not enough.

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John Steinbeck

Being at ease with himself put him at ease with the world.

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John Steinbeck

It’s all fine to say, “Time will heal everything, this too shall pass away. People will forget”—and things like that when you are not involved, but when you are there is no passage of time, people...

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John Steinbeck

Montana seems to me to be what a small boy would think Texas is like from hearing Texans

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John Steinbeck

Men really do need sea-monsters in their personal oceans

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John Steinbeck

The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It's the monster. Men made it, but they can't control it.

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John Steinbeck

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....

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John Steinbeck

Yes, you will. And I will warn you now that not their blood but your suspicion might build evil in them. They will be what you expect of them…I think when a man finds good or bad in his children he is...

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John Steinbeck

If a story is not about the hearer, he will not listen. And here I make a rule—a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last.

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John Steinbeck

The writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit—for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness...

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John Steinbeck

All of them had a restlessness in common.

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Related quote

John Steinbeck

A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn't telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of...

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John Steinbeck

We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say — and to feel — "Yes, that’s the way it is, or...

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John Steinbeck

We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome.

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Stephen Harrigan

Lonesome Dove is a great book that had the rare fortune of being made into a great movie. And now, through Bill Wittliff's photographs, we have a third generation of Lonesome Dove artistry. The same creative...

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Tal Ben-Shahar

Perfectionism and optimalism are not distinct ways of being, an either-or choice, but rather they coexist in each person. And while we can move from perfectionism toward optimalism, we never fully leave...

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Price Pritchett

We all faced painful ethical challenges before we even knew how to spell our names. There were tough choices. Tradeoffs. Confusing signals regarding how to live one's life. And here we are now, today,...

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Muriel Barbery

What makes the strength of the soldier isn't the energy he uses trying to intimidate the other guy by sending him a whole lot of signals, it's the strength he's able to concentrate within himself, by staying...

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Erma Bombeck

For the first two years of a child's life, we spend every waking hour tryibg to get the child to communicate. Then we spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out how we can reverse the process.

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Amy Poehler

You can tell someone you love them first. You can try to speak only the truth for a whole week. You can jump out of an airplane or spend Christmas Day all by your lonesome. You can help people who need...

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Jack Kerouac

I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a...

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Megan Whalen Turner

He loves me, and I reward his love by forcing on him something he hates. In the evening, after we dance, he rarely returns to the throne; he dances with others or moves from place to place through the...

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Muriel Barbery

What makes the strength of a soldier isn't the energy he uses trying to intimidate the other guy by sending him a whole lot of signals, it's the strength he's able to concentrate within himself, by staying...

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Marcel Duchamp

To all appearances, the artist acts like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out to a clearing. If we give the attributes of a medium to the artist, we must...

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Brad Gooch

What first stuns the young writer emerging from college is that there is no clear-cut road for him to travel on. He must chop a path in the wilderness of his own soul, a disheartening process, lifelong...

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Raniero Cantalamessa

The immense wealth of doctrine and institutions can become a handicap if we are trying to present all of that to a person who has lost all contact with the Church and no longer knows who Jesus is. That...

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Terrance Hayes

I'm chasing a kind of language that can be unburdened by people's expectations. I think music is the primary model-how close can you get this language to be like music and communicate feeling at the base...

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Arianna Huffington

Women still have an uneasy relationship with power and the traits necessary to be a leader. There is this internalized fear that if we are really powerful, we are going to be considered ruthless or pushy...

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Bernd Heinrich

We are social animals. We like to feel a part of something of beauty and power that transcends our insignificance. It can be a religion, a political party, a ball club. Why not also Nature? I feel a strong...

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Steven Wright

I don't feel that I'm explaining the world or teaching people anything. And I'm not trying to be a mirror, showing them what's really going on the world. All I'm trying to do is think of stuff that's funny,...

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Carson McCullers

She wished there was some place where she could go to hum it out loud. Some kind of music was too private to sing in a house cram fall of people. It was funny, too, how lonesome a person could be in a...

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Marilyn Monroe

It's a terrible thing to be lonesome, especially in the middle of a crowd.

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“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

― Dr. Seuss