These past few days I’ve been reading Steinbeck’s The Wayward Bus, traveling through the rain in California, on an old bus named Sweetheart, with the desperate-hearted, the lovely and the profane, the young and the dying. The novel is classic Steinbeck, with an eye for the landscape, and characters so real you could pull up a chair and have a conversation. Near the end, when I began to think this wasn’t my favorite Steinbeck novel, I read a half page of dialogue that made the whole book rise and spin. Then I went with those two characters back to the bus, dug it out of a mud hole, and drove to San Juan.
We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the neverending contest in ourselves of good and evil.
– Steinbeck, East of Eden