California V: Cannery Row

March 11, 2009

Short and sweet this morning. Dad and I are exploring the Monterey Peninsula today — starting out in Carmel, bopping over to Salinas, then circling back to downtown Monterey, before heading down the coast again, San Simeon way.

All that in mind, it’s tough to resist quoting the opening lines of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. There’s a little bit of a backlash against Steinbeck from many quarters these days, but how can you deny the pulse of life in his writing, even in this single paragraph? I’m envious; I’ll say that.

canneryrowCannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses. Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, “whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches,” by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, “Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,” and he would have meant the same thing.

More soon, from further down the road….

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One comment

  1. Golf is the main draw for Monterey.
    The Monterey Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places on earth with world class golf courses. I just took a vacation to Monterey and had a wonderful time, this is defiantly the top golf vacation destination in the nation if not the world! Have a look for yourself – Monterey Peninsula Golf.com

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