Live Up to Love: Advice from Steinbeck

John Steinbeck, author of The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, got a letter from his son, Thom during his stay at boarding school. Thom wrote that he’d fallen head over heels for Susan, a girl at school. This is what Steinbeck wrote back the same day:

New York
November 10, 1958

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.

First—if you are in love—that’s a good thing—that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second—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.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply—of course it isn’t puppy love.

But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it—and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone—there is no possible harm in saying so—only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another—but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.

We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens—The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.





Tell Someone You Love Them

Matt Clayton Photography

It’s the second day of Random Acts of Kindness Week! Today I want you to tell someone you love them. It could be your hubby, your mom or heck, even your dog. But I want you to look ’em in the eye today and say, “I love you!!” Why? Because it’s easy to get in the habit of saying it on the sly, “Love ya babe” or think that you don’t even need to say it because they already know. But it’s nice to be reminded, isn’t it? Especially if they haven’t been told for a while. And while you’re at it, think about all the things you love about that person before you say it. Do they laugh at your Julia Child impersonations? Do they have a kind smile? Do they rub your head when you’re sick? Count the ways you love them and then blurt it out!

Timing is everything

As a singleton, it’s easy to get impatient. Especially when you thought you would have met your guy by now. And especially when you’ve had a string of  going nowhere dates and relationships. It’s easy to give up on love. It’s easy to give up hope. But it doesn’t feel great when you do. (And you never give up really anyway.) So here’s what I’m thinking. Good things happen to those who wait. I’m betting on that. And I’m betting on love. What about you?

Would You Beat That?

Probably not. You’d probably think, “Hey. That’s lookin’ pretty dead. Deader than dead.” and leave it at that. And that’s probably because you’ve got some sense. Which makes me wonder why I’ve dated some guys who think, “Maybe it’s not dead. Maybe I can Frankenstitch that shit up.” It’s kinda sad really. Because even when you point out how dead that horse really is, they smack it one more time just in case or maybe they do it just for kicks. And then they get mad at you when that horse doesn’t rear its ugly head and neigh. All I’m saying is, if it’s dead it’s either due to natural causes or somebody killed it. Don’t go beating it. You just look crazy.

Happy Valentine’s Day

If I get married, I want to be very married.
– Audrey Hepburn

Wishing all the newlyweds, soon-to-be-weds, and we’ve-been-together-forever-weds a very happy Valentine’s day. May today be filled with butterflies, comfort, connectedness and above all love.

Wishing all the singletons the resolve to believe in true love and never settle for anything less (even if “less” has a nice ass).

Happy-Go-Lucky: Make Love

I love the idea that love is in your hands to create. You don’t have to wait around to receive it. It’s not a stranger you won’t recognize. And it’s not something you fall into or out of. It’s a resource. It’s there inside you, waiting to be made. So if you give it away and it gets tossed aside, don’t worry. You can always make more.

{via Field Trip}

Guaranteed Bawlers

Whether you’re expecting a visit from Aunt Flo or just got dumped by the guy you were crazy about, there are moments that a girl needs a good weep. I’m talking one of those gasping, heaving, runny-nosed sobs. But how can you measure whether your sob fest is truly cathartic or not?  After spending days mulling over “why”, “what if”, “maybe I should have”, and “I’ll never” scenarios, I personally get rather tired of sobbing without the satisfying crescendo that a conclusion can provide. Sometimes your own problems just don’t have clear cut answers, no matter how hard you rack your brain to find them. And that’s where the arts comes in. Here’s my list of movies and books that are guaranteed to make you bawl – with a beginning, a middle and an end that makes sense.

Becoming Jane. No one can outdo Jane Austen’s sense of romantic idealism. Unfortunately her own love life was less than she’d hoped for.

Little Women. “I could never love anyone as much as I love my sisters,” cries Jo March. This tale will make you count your lucky stars for the wonderful women in your life.

Anne of Green Gables. Only the Cuthberts could embrace the wildness of Anne with an ‘e’ Shirley.

The Duchess. This movie makes me grieve for the many women who have lived and died in loveless marriages.

Marie Antoinette. From the harsh criticisms of her new French family to her angry subjects, this girl couldn’t catch a break.

Eat, Pray, Love.  This book came to me after a bad break up and helped me put my trust in fate. Elizabeth Gilbert travels to Italy, India and Indonesia looking for inner peace and finds just that.

Mister Pip. When civil war strikes Matilda’s island, only Mr. Watt will hold down the fort and teach the island’s children. Without a teaching background, he reads Great Expectations aloud to the class and Pip quickly becomes Matilda’s hero.

Come, Thou Tortoise. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where I’ve literally been smiling and crying simultaneously. There’s no protagonist like Audrey. Coming to grips with the death of her father, you’ll fall in love with this girl in the first chapter.