I came across my first reading of a work of John Steinbeck while going through your collection this winter, he writes in a eloquent manner with emphasis on the underlying human emotions to a situation. I had read an article on him earlier than that, which I had saved, unknowing to the fact that I will get to like him as a novel writer, it shows a letter Steinbeck sent to his son when informed that the 15 year old felt that he was in love and goes like:
November 10, 1958
We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.
First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.
Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.
You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.
But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.
Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.
The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.
If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so — only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.
Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.
It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.
Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.
We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.
And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.
Don’t worry, I haven’t found someone like that which, I ensure you and ma, if I ever did you’ll be the first ones to be informed.
Of course one finds little to contradict this ageless wisdom, but still it had me thinking, why a selfless “outpouring of everything good in you” be limited to only your affection to the other person, shouldn’t such an outpouring be the basis of everything you do in life?
Yesterday I was reading about the potters of Andretta, a remote village in Himachal, famous for its unique pottery and artistic history.
A potter, I came to understand, does not know initially what final exact shape her work is going to take. She starts with a small lump of clay and works her fingers around it to put forth the combined force of the spinning disc and her imagination with a meditative concentration.This caught my imagination that isn’t this the same outpouring that Steinbeck talked of?
An artist is considered to be someone who gives vent to her emotions, someone who extends the inner reaches of his mind into the objects that are created.But why can’t we be artists in our own rights, what stops us choosing a path that liberates us from the clutches of the mundane and helps us express ourselves.
Work is something that is considered a mean to financial security yet it is seldom in layman terms considered to be a medium of self expression for a person. What stops us from converting our mundane daily tasks into profound expressions ?
Sadly I don’t know, neither do I have a definite answer of what I would call as my medium of self expression. But what I know is that no matter what field I get into I must try and use it as something that can spread the colors of my life.