Thursday, April 22, 2010

100 Years--Gone But Unforgettable.

Obama is in town! And no, I am not braving the already insane traffic of NYC to go snap pictures like a fangirl. He's the president, folks. Not Mark Twain.

Speaking of Mark Twain, that handsome fella to the left, yesterday marked the 100 year anniversary of his death. I figured we could commemorate "the father of American literature" by talking about his life and his works a little bit today.

Mark Twain was born Samual Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri, November 30th 1835. He was the sixth of seven children, and normally I wouldn't boggle you down with that information, but I think it's interesting and sad that only 3 of his siblings survived childhood. One of his brothers died in a riverboat explosion. Crazy.

Anywho, his father died when he was eleven years old (pneumonia) and Twain went to work as a printer's apprentice. ELEVEN! Seriously, folks. Never to early to start following your dreams. Then he started working as a typsetter and writing articles for the The Hanibal Journal, a newspaper owned by his brother, Orion. Cool name, right? Ellen Hopkins' son is named Orion.

So he left there after a while and came to work as a printer in a few major cities, including NYC. He joined the union, and educated himself in LIBRARIES! That's right, libraries. Those very important things that are loosing lots of funding.


So, as the years went on, Twain decided to be a steamboat captain. He studied the Mississippi river for two years before he got his license. Never under estimate the importance of planning and research! It was Twain who convinced Henry to join him on the riverboat that caused his death. Twain says he foresaw the death in a vivid dream a month prior. I got chills writing that. Did you, while you were reading? Whew. So naturally, Twain held himself responsible for Henry's death for the rest of his life. Sad, but he wouldn't have been the amazing man he was had he not lived through the things he did.

He worked on the river until the Civil War broke out in 1861. After that he did a number of awesome things. He traveled west in a stage coach for two weeks, then he was a miner in Virginia City, Nevada, a job he failed at. Because he was a writer. Not a miner. He found work at the Virginia City Newspaper. Yay!

Moving along, Twain's first notably successful work was The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, published in The New York Saturday Press on November 18th 1865.

I don't want to list every detail of his life, so I'm going to close this post here with a few Twain quotes. I have an app on my phone. I get my Twain quotes daily.

"The public is merely a multiplied me"
"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty, and gradually approach eighteen."
"By trying we can easily endure adversity. Another man's, I mean"
"Words are only painted fire; a look is the fire itself."
"Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered-either by themselves or by others."
"Part of the secret of a success in life, is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside."--Kristi, that's for you and chocolate.
"A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way."
"Golf is a good walk spoiled."
"Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been."
"What would men be without women? Scarce, sir, mighty scarce."

What are some of your favorite Twain works or quotes? Has he inspired you in some way? Share!
His house is awesome.
Photo and information provided by wikipedia.


  1. Mark Twain is the best!

    I know most writerly folks don't follow much sports but I just have to share this:

    Phil Jackson, the coach of the LA Lakers, had to misquote Mark Twain horribly for the TV cameras the other day.

    He said:

    "What did Mark Twain say? Rumors of my demise are overrated, or whatever?"

    He actually said "Or whatever".

    What a moron.

    Anyway thanks for sharing L.J.

    Today's guest blogger is Michelle McLean!

  2. Gotta love that guy. He tells it like it is, a quality I greatly admire.

  3. What a great tribute, Lacey! Also, I love the food quote - as if I needed another chocolate excuse. :)

  4. he he great post! mark twain is awesome, obvs. ;D

    great post!!

  5. Love me some Twain! His life sounds just as adventurous as his novels.

  6. Mark Twainfaves? it's soo hard to choose. He wrote a short story about the ghost of a giant that was looking for his body, I read it when I was young but I forgot the name...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...