A Dedication

costa rica waterfall

Hello friends!  I’ve been in Costa Rica this week getting a sunburn on my scalp, eating ceviche like it’s going out of style, learning how to surf, and mostly thinking thoughts about what I’m going to cook for you this Spring and into our future.  I needed a bit of a get away to think my thoughts.  Maybe my brain works best from under a sun burnt scalp.  That’s probably it.

I’ve also been reading a lot of non-Internet words on this little getaway.  Books… those are non-Internet words.  They’re pretty cool.

East of Eden is my very favorite book of all time.  It’s John Steinbeck at his absolute everything.  It’s epic and heartbreaking and if you haven’t had your heart destroyed by this book then I would recommend that you add this work of art to your Spring reading list.

I took some time to read the dedication to East of Eden this week.  Something that I had skipped in my regular life of haphazard efficiency.  The dedication alone stopped me dead in my tracks.  The dedication alone is a compilation of words more beautiful that I’ve ever written in my whole life.  Just the dedication!  How’s that for something?

Steinbeck dedicated East of Eden to his dear friend and editor Pascal ‘Pat’ Covici.   This:

Dear Pat,
You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said, “Why don’t you make something for me?”
I asked you what you wanted, and you said, “A box.”
“What for?”
“To put things in.”
“What kind of things?”
“Whatever you have,” you said.
Well, here’s your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts- the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation.
And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you.
And still the box is not full.
JOHN

Steinbeck typed up East of Eden, literally carved a beautiful box for it, and delivered the box and manuscript along with this letter to his friend Pat.  I instantly feel like I need to do more beautiful ad poetic things with my life.  More sunset appreciation, restful pondering, and maybe more poetic musings with a pen and bar napkin.  Something, right?

Here’s to our Spring and our Steinbeck.

Ps.  The dork in me in now reading Steinbeck and Covici: The Story of a Friendship.  Just let it happen.

62 thoughts on “A Dedication

  1. An avid reader all my life, I’ve read nearly everything on those ‘100 books you must read’ lists and much, much more. But I’ve always struggled to get off the ground with Steinbeck. Thanks for sharing this Joy – it’s given me a starting point.

  2. I’ve never read Steinbeck before, but if the rest of his writing is as lovely as that dedication, I want to read it. East of Eden is now in my Goodreads “to-read” list. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. I love, love, love this. I haven’t read East of Eden. But now I’m going to buy it and reward myself with it once this semester is over. Only two weeks! I know I have to wait to crack it open because otherwise I’ll get no school work done.

  4. I haven’t read much lately but you have definitely inspired me to pick up East of Eden again. I can’t wait! John Steinbeck just slays me.

  5. I’ve had East of Eden on my bookshelf for ages…I’ve read more or less everything by Steinbeck but was always hesitant to read EoA since I’d seen the movie so many times that I would only try to compare the two (it is, after all, one of my favorites – who doesn’t love James Dean?). Recently, however, right about the time I started reading your blog, I picked it up. I’ve been devouring it ever since…this is a different ballpark altogether! Also, you cannot imagine how many yummy cakes and cookies you can make in the time it takes to read the 600 pages of East of Eden :) (I write this with a cup of strong coffee and a brown butter chocolate chip cookie in my hand)

  6. joy,
    i often forget that you are a reader and an english dork and, most of all, a real person, just like me. i like getting these reminders. i am a 22 year old english dork and foodie living on the opposite side of the world to you and i want to thank you for your corner of the internet. for your cookies and cakes and pies and salads, but also for your thoughts and words and book recommendations. thanks, basically, for being the person you are, and for letting us in.
    erin

  7. Joy,
    I’ve yet to read East of Eden. I do remember having to read The Red Pony by Steinbeck in 5th grade. It quickly made me fall in love with reading, despite the ways it broke my heart right in half. Somehow reading Steinbeck’s dedication here on your blog made me ‘hear it’ in your voice and that was both refreshing and inspiring. Hopefully that isn’t too weird… Although if there are two things I certainly am, weird and sincere are certainly it. :) Thanks for this post; I am looking forward to picking up this book soon.

  8. Hi Joy! I LOVE East of Eden. It is my number 2 favorite book! (#1 is Heart of Darkness). I actually just finished re-reading East of Eden about two weeks ago and every time I read it I notice something new, and think, gosh this is so good!

  9. YES YES YES to East of Eden. That book is so beautifully written, it’s almost hard to get through because you don’t want it to end! Gah, I need to re-read it. So glad I found a soul sista who feels the same way about that book because most people think I am nuts for loving it!

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