From the multiple versions described by his wife, it seems it took many years and experiments for John Steinbeck to settle on the perfect writing space.  And in the end, he simply built it himself, with the help of a local carpenter.

In homage to the name he gave to this precious place, the quotation is featured in a font called ‘Lancelot’.

The earlier incarnations, some more perfect than others, include his first writing room, the home he shared with Elaine after they married, a writing room doing dual purpose as a workshop, an ancient English cottage and byre, and a converted car.

‘He built, he and a local carpenter, his little writing house on the tip of Bluff Point, a little six-sided house, all windows and a peaked roof. (Why six sides? Mark Twain had a writing house with six sides.)  It held his drafting table and chair, and shelves for reference books, writing material, and all the mystical things he needed to have around him. Around the house he planted roses and ivy to climb in profusion.  He named it Joyous Garde: Lancelot’s last home.  This big brawny western-style middle-aged man – he was Lancelot, wasn’t he?’

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

Photo credit: Crane Garden Buildings


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