A few years ago I read East of Eden and loved it. It was thrilling and engaging and touched on major emotional issues. So this letter from John Steinbeck to his son Thom about the nature of love warmed my heart. The whole letter is beautiful and touching, but here’s one part in particular I liked:
“There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.”
Make sure to read the whole letter. I want to print it up and post it above my desk, it’s so lovely (the letter, not my desk). It’s from Steinbeck: a Life in Letters, which I am putting on my immediate to-read list. Usually I don’t delve into the private life of authors, but in this case I think I’ll make an exception.