Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Redeyes and Steinbeck

I am reading Travels with Charley for the 4th or 5th time on this trip and as I started into it at the beginning of my journey I was struck by John Steinbeck's wonderful attitude to his life. He's an older man when he's writing it, having had some health issues the prior year and he's about to head on a long journey, in a truck and with his dog Charley, to rediscover America, despite the advice of his friends and doctors.

He says:
"A kind of second childhood falls on so many men. They trade their violence for the promise of a small increase in lifespan.... I did not want to surrender fierceness for a small gain in yardage. My wife married a man; I saw no reason why she should inherit a baby.... And in my own life I am not willing to trade quality for quantity. If this projected journey should prove too much then it was time to go anyway. I see too many men delay their exits with a sickly, slow reluctance to leave the stage. It is bad theatre as well as bad living."

I love that last sentence. Until I am headed into my third redeye in 8 days as I journey from California, to New York, to London, to New Delhi, to New York. Then I think I read too much literature.

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