“The perfect pen and the perfect paper and me working on work that pleases me and has no note for the critics.” - John Steinbeck
Edgar Allan Poe believed that handwriting is an indication of character revealing our “mental qualities.” Indeed, the marks we leave on the paper are our most intimate of thoughts. Few exercises offer the not always seamless collaboration between brain and body like that direct line of the brain and the tip of the pen reaching paper creating copy.
John Steinbeck (February 27, 1902–December 20, 1968) captures this curious role of the pen as a negotiator between brain and body in a series of disarming observations in Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath. This remarkable volume that gives us a glimpse of how the great writer used the diary as a tool of discipline and a hedge against self-doubt when he embarked on the most intense writing experience of his life, the masterwork that earned him the Pulitzer Prize and his Nobel Prize.