Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone. ~ John Steinbeck

These words were the first time I came across the name John Steinbeck; and it was around the time I was on my way to Positano – the dream place I had dreamed of for so long, a dream that dreamed me too perhaps, and now the dream had become me.

Positano bites deep indeed. You don’t even realize how deep while you’re there, walking around the busy streets, climbing stairs, floating in waves, skins of salts and sands, boats hunting for hidden beaches, messy hair in the wind and it’s too hot to think about anything anyway. It kind of feels like a most favourite room in your home – like a body; you may not even think it’s a big deal, because it fits right in, enters you so smoothly. You don’t even realize how deep it bites – until you’re driving away; and suddenly you realize a part of your body is missing. And you look back at the widening distance realizing – wow, I was in the dream without even knowing it.

Steinbeck’s words described exactly how I felt, and it wasn’t until I had left Positano that I realized what he actually meant. But in that moment I knew – he and I shared a moment, a love for a place, stamped in time through a pen on paper.

One of my favourite things to read is not books – it is letters and diaries of people; so today, let me share with you a special letter John Steninbeck had written to his teenage son – giving him some precious love advice.

New York

November 10, 1958

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.

First—if you are in love—that’s a good thing—that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second—There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply—of course it isn’t puppy love.

But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it—and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone—there is no possible harm in saying so—only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another—but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.

We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens—The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.



Nothing good gets away.

I love his letter to his son because it is full of wisdom – it is how life is lived through the wisdom of our heart. His words convey in simple yet powerful ways what true love is.

And nothing good gets away.

Because as rivers flow to sea, what is will always be.

For more of my writings, browse through my Art of Love.

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Cover photo by me in Positano – somewhere in a boat hunting for hidden beaches. 

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