"How can the poem and the stink and the grating noise - the quality of light, the tone, the habit and the dream - be set down alive? When you collect marine animals there are certain flatworms so delicate that they are almost impossible to capture whole, for they break and tatter under the touch. You must let them ooze and crawl of their own will onto a knife blade and then lift them into your bottle of sea water. And perhaps that might be the only way to write this book - to open the page and to let the stories crawl in by themselves."
— John Steinbeck, Cannery Row