There were so many things I could write about when I checked the itinerary of Majestic Sierra Parks by Train, but as a writer, I thought it might be fun to further explore one of the feature destinations on this trip. Did you know that while still in high school Steinbeck decided he wanted to be a writer. He also enjoyed playing sports and worked on various ranches during summers. Attending Stanford University for six years, he never sought a degree but took only those courses that interested him. His many jobs provided the impressions that led to some of his works.
Steinbeck is often noted for his bleak narratives, but if truly examined, nearly all of his work shines with eternal optimism. Perhaps it was Steinbeck’s prose that led you to be awakened by the subtle spirits of nature. If you’ve never read him I include one of my favorite of his quotes.
In every bit of honest writing in the world … there is a base theme. 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 nearly always leads to love. There are shorter means, many of them. There is writing promoting social change, writing punishing injustice, writing in celebration of heroism, but always that base theme. Try to understand each other.
(Journal entry, 1938, quoted in the Introduction to a 1994 edition of Of Mice and Men by Susan Shillinglaw, p. vii)
Many of Steinbeck’s novels were made into film, usually with great success. I wasn’t even born when Grapes of Wrath was made, but have seen and enjoyed it several times since. Henry Fonda was simply spectacular in the role of Tom Joad. I was surprised to discover that in 1943, Alfred Hitchcock requested that Steinbeck write a novella to serve as the basis of his new film, Lifeboat. When Steinbeck watched the finished film he was offended by what he saw and asked that his name be removed from any connection with the film – it was not! Wouldn’t you love to know more about how all that went down? Also made into movies were adaptions of his novels, Tortilla Flat- 1942, East of Eden – 1955, and in 1992, the wonderful, Of Mice and Men.
It is on Day 3 of this Interlude adventure that you motor to Salinas, the boyhood home of Steinbeck. I know you will enjoy your visit to the National Steinbeck Center, dedicated to one of America’s most endearing authors. Learn all about his novels and maybe even more inside info on Lifeboat! Enjoy a home-cooked lunch at the original house of the young Steinbeck before continuing on to Oakhurst.
Please read the complete itinerary and plan to join this extraordinary tour that is a guaranteed winner.
Eadie, Interlude Blog Team
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