Thursday, 23 July 2009

Steinbeck says...

Reading Stenibeck's Cannery Row, I was struck by a part where the wonderful Doc is answering Hazel's question regarding another character who has been working on a boat for seven years and keeps changing it when he comes close to finishing it.

Doc was sitting on the ground pulling off his rubber boots.
"You don't understand, " he said gently. "Henri loves boats but he's afraid
of the ocean".
"What's he want a boat for the?" Hazel demanded.
"He likes boats," said Doc. "But suppose he finished his boat. Once he's
finished it people will say, "Why don't you put it in the water?" Then if he
puts it in the water he'll have to go out in it, and he hates water. So you see,
he never finishes the boat - so he doesn't ever have to launch it".
Hazel had followed the reasoning to a certain point but he abandoned it
before it was resolved. Not only abandoned it but searched for some way to
change the subject. "I think he's nuts", he said lamely.

Steinbeck's awareness of human frailty and the defences we put around our weakness is awesome. I would have liked to have known him.

I can't put my finger on how exactly, but this quote describes my therapy at the moment. It describes the fear of getting too close to certain things, and the way the direction has to keep changing in order to keep safe. The ocean is dangerous and terrifying and my boat doesn't feel like it will ever be ready... not even to sit in on dry land at the moment.

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