“Lily” Live from Short Stories About John Steinbeck Set in and Near Salinas, California

The short stories Steve Hauk is currently writing about John Steinbeck take place in Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Salinas, California, the area where the author of The Grapes of Wrath spent more than half his life. A former newspaper reporter, like Steinbeck, Steve has an ear for dialog and an eye for detail ideally suited to his subject. That isn’t surprising. In addition to short stories, he writes stage plays and articles about fine art. The setting of his latest story—read here by the actor and writer Alan Brasington—is an antique store in modern-day Salinas, California, the town where Steinbeck was born in 1902. In it, Lily—the antique store’s owner—relives a terrifying time in the 1930s when the author feared for his safety because of his writing. Why? Following the death of his parents, Steinbeck moved on from the dark humor and social satire of his first published short stories, The Pastures of Heaven, and Tortilla Flat, his first popular novel, to three books that would rouse his enemies and assure his fame: In Dubious Battle, Of Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath. Although almost as different from one another as they are from Steinbeck’s short stories, the novels share a common theme and setting: the mistreatment of migrant workers in Depression-era California. Did the violent event recounted in “Lily” really happen? Readers of Steve’s short stories who live in Salinas, California, certainly remember the aging antique-store owner who narrates the incident: several have said so in comments made when the story was published. Approaching 90, Steve’s character is still haunted by the thought that a child could have been killed—along with John Steinbeck—at a Sunday picnic in East Salinas, California, arranged by friends. Like John Steinbeck, the real Lily is dead, but she finds a clear channel in Steve—a resident of nearby Pacific Grove who is familiar with Salinas, California—and in Alan, who once owned an antique store near Kingston, New York. Enjoy Steve Hauk’s “Lily” read by Alan Brasington below.

Steve Hauk About Steve Hauk

Steve Hauk is a playwright, short story writer, and art expert in Pacific Grove, California. Co-curator of This Side of Eden—Images of Steinbeck's California, the inaugural art exhibition at the National Steinbeck Center, he has written on John Steinbeck for Steinbeck Review and is the author of two CINE Golden Eagle award-winning PBS-telecast documentaries narrated by Jack Lemmon, Time Captured in Paintings: The Monterey Legacy and The Roots of California Photography: The Monterey Legacy. His plays include Fortune's Way, or Notes on Art for Catholics (and Others)The Floating Hat, Reflections of an American Mossad, A Mild Concussion, and The Cottages, Scenes from Lives Interrupted. Steinbeck: The Untold Stories, a book of fictional stories published by SteinbeckNow.com and based on Steinbeck's life, is available through Amazon and at selected bookstores..


  1. Kudos to Alan Brasington for his dramatic reading of Steve Hauk’s superb short story, “Lily.”
    This is an excellent collaboration of two wonderful artists. Well done, Steve and Alan. Thanks for the gift!

  2. Steve Hauk says:

    Thank you, Dennis. I am very fortunate to have an actor as gifted as Alan read the story. Kind of fun, too. I’m from St. Louis, which was the hometown of Vincent Price. Alan Brasington’s got the same rich resonant quality that Price had.

    Looking forward to the `publication of your book “Intimate Warfare: The True Story of the Arturo Gatti vs. Micky Ward Boxing Trilogy.”

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