Recently I read an old penny-paperback of The Grapes of Wrath. I was about three-quarters of the way through when I left it on a plane – I hope someone picked it up and read it. So I bought another copy of the same edition as it had a foreword by Steinbeck’s widow Elaine.
She describes delightfully the many ways and places he used to create a perfect writing space, some more successful than others. Here, early in their relationship, he shows Elaine the house he was born in and where he began writing, prompting the obvious question.
‘”That’s the room I was born in.” Then he pointed to the window above and said, “That’s the room I wrote in.” I asked, “When did you begin to write?” And John said almost in wonder, “I don’t remember a time I didn’t write.”‘
For other later spaces and his connection with them, see Elaine’s discovery in the writing room he had in their town house; his choosing between two parts of the same property; his comment on writing, shortly after they married; and his choice of writing technology.
Source: Elaine Steinbeck, Foreword, The Grapes of Wrath (London: Mandarin Paperback, 1995), p. i
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