I found this quote on a T-shirt.
Since then, I’ve always mentioned it at the end of every talk I give on writing to a community group or a college journalism class because I so believe what John Steinbeck says.
Sure, his quote is decades old. But for me, what he says is timeless. It reminds me of the woman in the photo above. That’s Helen Mills, Greensboro’s official Blues Lady.
That photo was taken years ago at her 90th birthday party, and I went there to write a column about a woman who dances in red lipstick and a string of pearls every chance she got. She and I did that at more than a few blues festivals. Yes, we did.
Did love that woman. It always showed me show that no matter what separates us — age, race, whatever — we all have one thing in common.
It’s our need to communicate through story and tell ourselves, as Steinbeck says below, “Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it. You’re not as alone as you thought.”
“A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn’t telling or teaching or ordering. Rather, he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of observing.
“See, we are lonesome animals. We spend all our lives trying to less lonesome, and one of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to feel — and to say to themselves, “Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it. You’re not as alone as you thought.”