Thinking Makes It So: Not even Steinbeck can save me

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By Kelly LeVan

I’ve had an odd week. Not odd as if I suddenly liked marmalade, but a disconcerting, unfamiliar odd – as if the innate spectacularness of the universe swooned into some black hole, leaving only a glaring, poorly constructed meta-fiction for me to inhabit.I shouldn’t blame the universe. It’s my body. A physiological, hopefully fleeing catastrophe has obliterated my ability to dance, play tennis, go for a trail run or even work. Sitting at my desk has become too strenuous. Driving home. Making tea. I may as well weigh a million pounds, for all my muscles’ complaining this week.Monday, I couldn’t read because it taxed me so to pay attention to the book, to follow from one sentence to the next. On and on, the sentences followed each other on some kind of mental Red Dot Trail. My mind was out of breath. And it was “East of Eden” – a beautiful, exhilarating book to whose characters I’m quite attached, despite the annoying fact that John Steinbeck wrote it.I have professed deep distaste for Steinbeck for years, mostly due to a prejudice I harbor against “The Pearl.” However, Steinbeck is infinitely smarter, wiser and more ambitious than I’ll ever manage, and I admire him completely. It almost hurts to admit it.

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