Thomas Steinbeck Quotes

  1. My father thought of himself as a tradesman. A craftsman.
  2. My father valued patriotism above all other social obligations, but he had his own particular interpretation of just how true patriotism was meant to function.
  3. I would hardly say that I have a rich knowledge of anything in particular, but I do seem to be burdened with an unseemly appetite for intellectual and artistic erudition, which, for the sake of balance, I keep well harnessed to a reliable sense of the absurd.
  4. My father told us all the time: to become a good writer takes writing. Because the more you do it, the better you get at it. It’s like bull-riding. You can’t do it once, you know. You’ve got to practice it and practice it.
  5. My father believed, like Pericles, that a man’s genius could be easily judged by the number of unenlightened fools set in phalanx against his ideas.
  6. I thought my dad was out of work, because my friends had fathers with briefcases who’d go off somewhere with bow ties on. But my father would finish breakfast and go back to his room.
  7. I was eighteen when I first read Joseph Heller’s stunning work ‘Catch-22,’ and was at that time close to being drafted for the fruitless and unenlightened war in Viet Nam.
  8. I like writing, but I write for self-improvement more than I do for money.
  9. You didn’t grow up in the shadow of John Steinbeck. He put you on his shoulders and gave you all the light you wanted.
  10. When I was fifteen, my father gave me a first edition copy of Ray Bradbury’s magnificent work, ‘The Martian Chronicles.’ I had read other science fiction by noted authors, but this book was something else altogether.
  11. Since I can’t write the greatest American novel, I’m going to write the longest American novel.
  12. When it comes to the form the narrative will take, whether first person, third person, or Aunt Grace’s cat, I usually find that the story tells me which voice it prefers, and that often changes as I go along. And in the end it really doesn’t matter as long as the author can rig those voices all in harness to pull the same load.
  13. The biggest impact my father had on my life was teaching the importance of literacy.
  14. Plot makes the character just as history makes the man.
  15. My father, John Steinbeck, was a man who held human history in great reverence, and in particular the biographies of those people who had risked their lives, their fortunes, and their worldly honor to defend the rights and prerogatives of those who were powerless to defend themselves.
  16. I’ve always been fascinated by the Chinese. This goes a long way back to my childhood. The Chinese invented money, movable type, clocks, and built the largest ships in the history of the world.
  17. My only job is to write in such a way that the reader gets a new handle on humanity.
  18. The characters in my stories, whether historical or fictional, usually prove to be a compilation of influences taken from differing sources, but never drawn from one model.
  19. From my father’s point of view, without a thought for self, a true patriot stands up against the stones of condemnation and speaks for those who are given no real voice in the halls of justice or the halls of government.
  20. For someone who loves literature, and all books on principle, being asked to name three titles over a half century of serious reading is akin to asking one to recall their three favorite sunsets.
  21. I started writing serious books so late because I knew I’d be accused of riding on my father’s coattails.

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