#Muse Media: The Past and #John Steinbeck

 Muse Media

Muse Media looks for our muse by mixing prose with other media, in this case by looking at the past with John Steinbeck.  The Woody Guthrie video ‘Talking Dust Bowl Blues’ is quintessential Guthrie.


“How can we live without our lives? How will we know it’s us without our past?”

 John Steinbeck from “Grapes of Wrath


Woody Guthrie’s song gives us an idea of one family’s hard times during the same era of Grapes of Wrath. I like the line at the end which speaks of how his wife had made some potato stew so thin you could read a magazine through it. “If it a been a little thinner some of those politicians could have seen through it.” John Steinbeck’s seminal work brings up a number of social issues.  This particular quotes asks the question of us as individuals.


In what way does the past affect your present life? 

How do you include events from the past in your work, or do you deliberately avoid them?


John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men (1937). As the author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and five collections of short stories, Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

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  1. Enjoy the happy time. Hope you will be back with great blog post in 2013. Till then, Enjoy!!!
    Merry Christmas.

    • Thanks Bindhu, that’s so nice of you. I will be back with a blog in January for sure. Happy holidays to you too!
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Past and John SteinbeckMy Profile

    • ‘The past is a foreign country’ (L P Hartley) is also born out in recent psycho-neurological investigations.
      We invent our past, literally, every day, we think it is memory, we call it memory and there- by give it a signature of truth. Beware, our minds are not very trustworthy, but, yes, it’s all we have. Letting go of the story sets us free, live in the present. For good soulful teachers on this theme, see Sixto Rodriguez, Mexican American singer, lost to the consciousness of USA, bigger than Elvis in South Africa. Even countries can get Dimentia! Please post up one of his songs Kathy. GXJ x

      • Thanks so much for your comment Glenys. I think it’s true that our memories are totally unreliable and the past changes with every telling. But fallible as the process is, the past can be fun to delve into occasionally. Certainly the present is the main place to be. it reminds me of a verse in a song Buffy Sainte-Marie wrote:-
        Some hang on to “used to be”
        Live their lives, looking behind
        All we have is here and now
        All our life, out there to find

        Will definitely look up Sixto Rodriguez, and try and incorporate him in a post if I can. Always great to hear of a good musician I’m not familiar with. Great to see you on the site.:))
        A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Past and John SteinbeckMy Profile

  2. The study of history is so important to all of mankind. I always tell younger persons that we all need to understand our own history and the history of others. I do not shy away from my personal history because it helps others understand so much about me. Our own history is a tremendous teacher, and not just the bad things that have happened to us. We learn from every event in our lives.
    Edward Reid recently posted..This Public Enemy is LovedMy Profile

    • Thank you for your comment Edward. I think history, personal and more broadly, is a great teacher. In theory we can learn by our mistakes, and if not, we can at least understand them. I also think as bloggers, it’s good for our readers to gradually learn a little more about us with every post.
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Past and John SteinbeckMy Profile

  3. True, would we be ourselves without our past? We would not have developed the same way if we had chosen a different route when we were at a crossroads.

    What would have happened to Ceasar if he had not said “Alia Iacta Est!” at Rubicom? Maybe we would never even have heard of him?

    What would my life had been like if I had lived all the time in Sweden and not all over the world? Very different for sure. Not to forget, as a human being I would not have learnt a lot of things that now enrich my life. But on the other hand I would have had different knowledge and experience.
    Catarina recently posted..Communication – The key to Successful Leadership!My Profile

    • Well put Catarina – our history is in truth what defines us. As you said you would be a completely different person if you’d lived in Sweden all your life. Now I have to look up the Latin, that Caesar said as he crossed the Rubicon. I love that you are so conversant in that whole era.Thanks so much 🙂
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Past and John SteinbeckMy Profile

  4. This reminds of a Ray Bradbury shortstory “A Sound of Thunder.” The premise of the story is a travel agency in the future that provides hunting tours in the past. They are designed to kill a dinosaur that is about to die anyway so that nothing within the timeline is harmed. In the story the main character leaves the path and in the process kills a butterfly. This has fundamental changes in the world of the future.

    It is amazing to think that something so simple can affect our world. It was our choices in the past that made us who we are now. As crazy as it sounds, it is possible that even something as simple as the toothpaste we used to brush our teeth could have an impact on the person we are now. We are making decisions all the time. It is these decisions that make us who we are.
    Jon Jefferson recently posted..Questions of Note: Lisa MorrisonMy Profile

  5. Nice post and apt video. I don’t think we should bury the past, because it would remain in our sub-conscious and rankle us. All of us, have some baggage or the other, and it is best to deal with it – as best as we can and walk on empty handed so that we are better equipped to gather new experiences.
    Seasons greetings and happy holidays. See you in the new year.
    Lubna recently posted..Keeping Score, a guide to love and relationshipsMy Profile

  6. I turly believe that our past experiences mold and forge us into the person we are today. For me I reflect on my past and draw lesson from each experience. That has helped me with the current time. As you know I do that in story form and I have enjoyed the fact that others have appreciated what I write as well. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted..That Holiday Feeling: StoryMy Profile

  7. When I was actively coaching, I realized that the best use of a clients past was to listen for and sift out – patterns. If the patterns worked in the present for someone, great. If the patterns were other than useful, then, we worked to create a new more helpful pattern. Woody Guthrie! Awesome.

    Thanks A.K.
    Patricia Weber recently posted..Introvert Tip – Top 3 Innate Strengths for Public SpeakingMy Profile

  8. We may have things in our past we would rather forget, but without them who would we be today? We don’t have to be ruled by our past, but we can allow it to help shape our future.
    Geek Girl recently posted..Motivational Monday – 12/17My Profile

  9. I’ll be brave and offer a specific example. Every day I am haunted by growing up with a bipolar mother. The impact never really goes away and I have to work very hard everyday not to let myself be brought down by events I couldn’t change then or now.
    Jeri recently posted..Author Interview: Troy Aaron RatliffMy Profile

    • Thanks so much for sharing that with us Jeri. Brave indeed. Issues with our parents are often difficult to work through at the best of times and inevitably affect us as adults. We can’t change other people’s behavior and especially when they have an illness to deal with, but trying to find a way to not let it affect us as an adult is the real challenge. You can’t change the past, but as you say trying not be brought down by things in the present is the part you have some control over, difficult though it might be. I very much appreciate your comment Jeri.
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Past and John SteinbeckMy Profile

  10. Hi AK – I’m big on the past, but why wouldn’t I? I’m old. One thing – one needs to work on they’re story telling so that it’s mostly funny, and always always self deprecating. One other thing – one needs a portable rolladex or ipod so you don’t have those deadly silences as you try to come up with the word or the name. Maintain a brisk pace. Ideally, nice pithy sound bites that if anyone evinces interest in it, you can pour out the rest.
    Larry Crane recently posted..The baby on our doorstep – a video rescue story.My Profile

    • Wise words Larry! Yes , the unreliable memory in this case definitely needs a prompter – I love the idea in this electronic age of whipping out a rolodex at a social gathering and flipping through it. Great image. Keeping it short is another bit of great advice. You put a smile on my face this morning:)
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Past and John SteinbeckMy Profile

  11. I find if you try to avoid your past, it comes back and reminds you of itself (if it is an ‘it’). I would love to do more artwork and freely explore my past in a safe way.

    I’m enjoying listening to Woody Guthrie as I write this comment. I must have listened when you posted earlier this week, but then I got distracted by life and work. Now it’s quieter here. “Tater stew … you could read a magazine right through it.”
    Leora recently posted..Favorite Blog Posts 2012My Profile

    • You’ve got that right Leora – the past will definitely catch up with you in one way or another. I don’t mean that in a dramatic way, only that sweeping things under the rug, just doesn’t work.
      I think using artwork is a great way to explore your past and/or resolve issues. In fact I did this after my parents died. I didn’t wanted to do anything to figurative as it was both too painful & not my style, so I did a whole series of abstract paintings based on the stained glass that was prevalent in their house. As well as being therapeutic, it took my artwork into a whole new direction.
      Glad you liked the Woody Guthrie song – that line about the tater stew is priceless. Thanks so much for your comment Leora:)
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Past and John SteinbeckMy Profile

  12. Interesting post, A.K.

    I’ve always been a forward-looking kind of person. I try to live in the now and live everyday as though it could be my last. I am fortunate in that I don’t worry about things. I just live and do and hope it all works out.

    My husband is quite the opposite, so we’ve learned much from one another about striking a balance in our perspectives.

    All the best to you in 2013.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..a salute to 2012: it’s been a good yearMy Profile

    • Thanks for your comment Doreen – you definitely have a gift to be able to live each day as if it could be your last. It’s not always easy to do. Striking a balance with your husband sounds great – I like the idea of having different perspectives to each learn from.So often people have one way of doing things and refuse to budge. But your open-mindedness towards life in general and your positive thinking really comes across in your work that’s for sure 🙂
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedium: The Past and John SteinbeckMy Profile


  1. […] when more than one media is a play at the same time. I’ve explored this a little in my Musemedium […]