More Steinbeck on Writing

Sometimes in a man or a woman an awareness takes place — not very often and always inexplainable. There are no words for it because there is no one ever to tell. This is a secret not kept a secret, but locked in wordlessness. The craft or art of writing is the clumsy attempt to find symbols for the wordlessness. In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplainable. And sometimes if he is very fortunate and if the time is right, a very little of what he is trying to do trickles through.

— John Steinbeck, Journals of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters

This is another installment from Steinbeck’s journals written as he was giving birth to East of Eden. It has echos from my Julian Schnabel quote when he said “That is true about all art. The conflict is to try and take what is inside of you and put it inside somebody else.”

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