Thursday, January 19, 2012

John Steinbeck's letter to his son

My best friend passed this on to me and just posting it here, so I can keep coming back to it to access it quickly, and so can anyone else.

Nobel laureate John Steinbeck (1902-1968) might be best-known as the author of East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath, and Of Mice and Men, but he was also a prolific letter-writer. Steinbeck: A Life in Letters constructs an alternative biography of the iconic author through some 850 of his most thoughtful, witty, honest, opinionated, vulnerable, and revealing letters to family, friends, his editor, and a circle of equally well-known and influential public figures.
 Among his correspondence is this beautiful response to his eldest son Thom's 1958 letter, in which the teenage boy confesses to have fallen desperately in love with a girl named Susan while at boarding school. Steinbeck's words of wisdom—tender, optimistic, timeless, infinitely sagacious—should be etched onto the heart and mind of every living, breathing human being.

New York
November 10, 1958
Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.

First -- if you are in love -- that's a good thing -- that's about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don't let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second -- 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 in you -- of kindness and consideration and respect -- not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn't know you had.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply -- of course it isn't puppy love.

But I don't think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it -- and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone -- there is no possible harm in saying so -- only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another -- but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I'm glad you have it.

We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.

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



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thought of the day

Maybe pain is vital, as a purifying agent for the alchemy of the soul...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Come let's

Come let’s find paths that lead to nowhere,
Crunch our way through dried leaves of ochre.
Come let’s get drenched in the rains,
Traipse and slosh in muddy puddles, soiling our boots.
Come let’s talk about the nothings- in -particular,
And set aside the told-you-so's, what-ifs and never-evers.
Come let’s just be…
Let’s be ourselves a little longer than we need to.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Just another evening

It is just another evening
There is a slight shiver in the breeze
Just a dusting of goosebumps worth
Bright green, gold and red lights embellish the air
Squint your eyes and blur the outer edges
For an instant surreal Dali painting
A sliver of muted light shines on the tarred pavement
My shoes have stopped me at the line of light
I see a cat slinking around the corner
As if swallowed whole by the universe
Maybe if I stood long enough
The streetlight would beam me up too
The sharp aroma of Chinese cooking
Hot, greasy and soul nourishing
Wafts through the cool wind
These evenings, the world stops spinning for a while
Like a still photograph with background music
And in a while, the line of light on the pavement moves

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