“The creative principle is a lonely and an individual matter.”

John Steinbeck, writer

More – Quotation from “About Ed Ricketts” from “The Log from the Sea of Cortez”

ed-ricketts-0629-2Both Steinbeck and Ricketts had achieved some measure of security and recognition in their professions by 1939: Steinbeck had capitalized on his first successful novel, Tortilla Flat, with the publication of The Grapes of Wrath, and Ricketts had published Between Pacific Tides, which became the definitive handbook for the study of the intertidal fauna of the Pacific Coast of the coterminous United States. Steinbeck was exhausted and looking for a new start; Ricketts was looking for a new challenge. The two men had long thought of producing a book together and, in a change of pace for both of them, they began work on a handbook of the common intertidal species of the San Francisco Bay Area. The book came to nothing, but it spurred them into making a trip to the Sea of Cortez. Initially they planned a motoring trip to Mexico City as a break from their work on the handbook, but as time went on they became more interested in a collecting trip around the Gulf of California. Ricketts noted in his journal:

Jon said, “If you have an objective, like collecting specimens, it puts so much more direction onto a trip, makes it more interesting.”…Then he said, “We’ll do a book about it that’ll more than pay the expenses of the trip.”