Steinbeck Woods – Guest Post by Andrew Joyce…

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,” said the poet so many lifetimes ago.

He was right; they are lovely. I venture into them as often as possible. I have a few hidden spots known only to me. Places where I can sit on a comfortable log and read a book (usually Steinbeck or London) without being disturbed.

Speaking of distinguished authors, let’s talk about me for a moment—a favored subject of mine.

Every once in a great while, I’ll pull one of my books off the shelf, dust off the dust and open it to a random page just to see how the old words are holding up. And I gotta tell you, I can’t get through two paragraphs—sometimes not even two sentences—before I cringe with embarrassment and snap the book shut in total disgust. What a hack! And you dare call yourself a writer? are my terse thoughts in the moment.

But then I come to my senses. I’m proud of my latest foray into the literary world. There are no cringe moments in that book! Well, maybe I could have described that thing a little better … or maybe not have used that particular word in that particular setting. You know how it goes. But by and large, I’m happy with that book. So, I ain’t so bad after all. Whew!

Now, let’s get back to the woods because that’s where this whole thing is headed.

It’s a Tuesday morning and I have the woodlands to myself. Most of the world is off somewhere else, perhaps earning a living, perhaps starting a war. I don’t really care. For the woods are mine on this glorious, God-given day, and I have my beloved Steinbeck with me.

The book: Travels with Charley.

You wanna know what I gotta say about Steinbeck? Well, I’ll tell ya. That son of a bitch sure could write. And that son of a bitch just made me realize I’m a hack after all.

Here, sample these few nuggets from Charley.

“… it rained endlessly and the forests wept.”

“… the windshield wipers sobbed their arcs.”

“Lying in my bed under a weeping night …”

“The brother-in-law growled in his throat like a happy tomcat and the pregnant ladies twittered like alouettes singing to the sun.”

“The afternoon light made mirrors of the windows of the office and lunch room.”

“… our morning eyes describe a different world than do our afternoon eyes …”

“The roads squirmed with traffic “

… arrows of southing ducks and geese.”

“… the duties and joys and frustrations a man carries with him like a comet’s tail.”  

“… the air was rich with butter-colored sunlight …”  

See what I mean, a real Son-of-a-Bitch. And I’m not even halfway through the damn book!

I may never write another word.

Andrew Joyce

Lost Somewhere in the Woods

Andrew Joyce Website


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8 thoughts on “Steinbeck Woods – Guest Post by Andrew Joyce…

  1. How lovely you would quote m favorite poet, whom I actually met long ago. Don’t be discouraged, though. There will never be another Steinbeck, but if all of us stopped writing in despair after reading his words, the world would be deprived of some really good books (yours) and we’d have nothing to read!

    Liked by 2 people


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