Travels with Charley

Suzanne Uncategorized

Last weekend, I was up in Oregon visiting my college-aged daughter. While at the Bed and Breakfast, (ah, bliss! A lovely hotel room all to myself!) I came across the book Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck.

Steinbeck is a hit and miss author for me. Loved some of his work but not all. Travels with Charley, though, is a hit.

In 1960, when he was almost 60 years old, Steinbeck set out to rediscover America. He was accompanied only by his French poodle named Charley, and he traveled the length and breadth of the country. One adventure after another. All true!

Loved this paragraph in particular:

For weeks I had studied maps, large-scale and small, but maps are not reality at all–they can be tyrants. I know people who are so immersed in road maps that they never see the countryside they pass through. Suddenly, the United States became huge beyond belief and impossible ever to cross. I wondered how I’d got myself mixed up in a project that couldn’t be carried out. [Here’s the part I like…] It was like starting to write a novel. When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages a sick sense of failure falls on me and I know I can never do it. This happens every time. Then gradually I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate and I eliminate the possibility of ever finishing.

This last weekend, while in my delightful B&B, I finished up the notes and groundwork for a novella that is due September 1st. Steinbeck’s words spoke to me!

And now…I better get busy…