Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, yet hunger gnaws you. You have been loved, but your yearning wanders in new fields. And to prod all these there’s time, the Bastard Time.

Sweet Thursday (1954)

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More from John Steinbeck

In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable.

In diary

How can we live without our lives? How will we know it’s us without our past?

The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.

In diary

You got a god. Don’t make no difference if you don’t know what he looks like.

I have owed you this letter for a very long time — but my fingers have avoided the pencil as though it were an old and poisoned tool.

Letter to his literary agent, found on his desk after his death in 1968