The Odd Jobs of Literary Giants

I saw this in the latest issue of Writer’s Digest in an article by Alex Palmer, the author of Literary Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Literature. Many of those famous authors whose words are immortalized in literary classics did all sorts of odd jobs while they were perfecting their writing craft.

For example, meet …

Kurt Vonnegut, manager of America’s first Saab dealership

John Steinbeck, painter, fruit picker, estate caretaker and Madison Square Garden construction worker

Stephen King, high school janitor

Harper Lee, reservation clerk for Eastern Air Lines

J.D. Salinger, entertainment director on a Swedish luxury ocean liner

Continue reading “The Odd Jobs of Literary Giants”

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John Steinbeck and ‘East of Eden’

I have never read East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I have made feeble attempts. This time I think I’ll do it. I’m about 100 pages into it.

I picked up East of Eden this past weekend. It was sitting on the book shelf, one of my wife’s book club books. I’ve always been a Steinbeck fan. I read him in my youth—The Grapes of Wrath, Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men, Tortilla Flat, The Winter of Our Discontent, to name a few.

I like his stories. But I also like to read Steinbeck for his writing. I believe there is something to be gleaned from reading good writing. I’m convinced that it helps my own writing in some way. Good writing is good writing, whether fiction, non-fiction, direct mail, a blog, a newsletter article, a fundraising letter, or an ad.

I like to read as widely as possible for my enrichment and enjoyment. Steinbeck is a welcome diversion.

The last book I read was Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson. And my next book (if I get through East of Eden) might be a biography about Amelia Earhart. My curiosity is piqued after seeing the Amelia film last Friday with my daughter.