Another example of Steinbeck’s search for a perfect writing spot, in different houses, places, times of his life, as described by his wife.  She never entered these spaces without being invited, which on occasion led to some surprises.

This is a writing room high up in a town house they lived in. I loved the quirkiness of it – writing and carpentry in the same space, and her wry comment at the end.

‘Over the years all kinds of material would be carried up the three flights of stairs: writing equipment, power tools, brackets, shelves, and once, big loads of lumber. It took me two weeks to learn he was building a boat up there. He built it too, a sort of kayak, big, very big in a little brownstone fourth floor room. It was a take-apart boat that could be got downstairs and re-assembled when it came near water. Fancy writing East of Eden and building a boat in the same room!’

See also the his comment on when he first began writing, his preference for pencil and paper, and the first space he created after his marriage to Elaine, followed by his moving between two parts of the same property in England


Source: Elaine Steinbeck, Foreword, The Grapes of Wrath (London: Mandarin Paperback, 1995), p. iii

Photo credit: Free-Photos at


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