My father, John Steinbeck, was a man who held human history in great reverence, and in particular the biographies of those people who had risked their lives, their fortunes, and their worldly honor to defend the rights and prerogatives of those who were powerless to defend themselves.
Plot makes the character just as history makes the man.
You didn't grow up in the shadow of John Steinbeck. He put you on his shoulders and gave you all the light you wanted.
My father valued patriotism above all other social obligations, but he had his own particular interpretation of just how true patriotism was meant to function.
For someone who loves literature, and all books on principle, being asked to name three titles over a half century of serious reading is akin to asking one to recall their three favorite sunsets.
From my father's point of view, without a thought for self, a true patriot stands up against the stones of condemnation and speaks for those who are given no real voice in the halls of justice or the halls of government.
I like writing, but I write for self-improvement more than I do for money.
The biggest impact my father had on my life was teaching the importance of literacy.
My father believed, like Pericles, that a man's genius could be easily judged by the number of unenlightened fools set in phalanx against his ideas.
I started writing serious books so late because I knew I'd be accused of riding on my father's coattails.
My father thought of himself as a tradesman. A craftsman.
My only job is to write in such a way that the reader gets a new handle on humanity.
Since I can't write the greatest American novel, I'm going to write the longest American novel.
I thought my dad was out of work, because my friends had fathers with briefcases who'd go off somewhere with bow ties on. But my father would finish breakfast and go back to his room.
The characters in my stories, whether historical or fictional, usually prove to be a compilation of influences taken from differing sources, but never drawn from one model.
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