Quote the Writer - "Always be nice to your editor."
There is no denying that Ernest Hemingway's work demanded attention when he lived. His work is far greater than ever now that he is deceased. His magnetic character as well as his writing was one of a kind. His time is gone but his work lingers on. However, this article is not totally about him. Hemingway recognized Mark Twain as one of the greatest writers of all time. I believe he's on the mark when he said that all modern American literature comes from the book of Mark Twain, titled Huckleberry Finn. He told how there was nothing before and there has been nothing as good, since. No greater personage freewheeled in the yesteryear of his life.
Mark Twain's real name is Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known as America's most famous literary icon.
His epilogue could easily have been; Mark Twain may have died but he will never be dead. Wouldn't it be a monumental marvel to be thought of like this man who went through most of his life with a phony name? How strange it is, to strive, to strain, and struggle, marketing your writing to become an icon when all you have to do is...die. Something about death just draws people to authors and artists. Have you ever noticed, as a rule, some of the "greats" were dirt poor, save a few that were alcoholics? But who really cares. We still love `em. Their work overshadows their faults.
My favorite quote by Mark Twain:
"Substitute "d___" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be." ~Mark Twain
Thanks to Mark Twain, I will never use "very" in my writing again. I'll be d___ careful about that. See how well it works. I'm smiling here.
Twain began to gain fame when his story, "The Celebrated Jumping From of Calavaras County" appeared in the New York Saturday Press on November 18, 1865. Twain's first book, "The innocents Abroad," was published in 1869. "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" in 1876 and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" in 1885. He wrote 28 books and numerous short stories, letters and sketches.
It's possible he realized his fame and fortune before he died in 1910, but since he's not here to tell us, we'll never really know. I for one, wish I could pioneer a quantum leap back into the past and right into his life. What a transfiguration that would be.
Anyway...I can dream can't I? You and I will have to settle for the history books and his works to reveal his true worth. I believe he was a man of clear vision about life at its best and at its worst. You and I have only to read his work to realize how it stands up page for page, sensational, the very equal of an unusually rare first novel that comes along once in a lifetime.
Can't you just see him behind the wheel of a river boat in the 1800's? The Civil War brought the river trade to a stand still in 1861. Clemens became a river pilot's apprentice in 1858. His pseudonym, Mark Twain, comes from his days as a river pilot. It's a river term for a boat, meaning two fathoms of 12 feet of water is being sounded. The term, Mark Twain" means that it is safe to navigate.
Let us all hope that this kind of history about our famous writers are never
prevented from being included, considered or accepted for our school history books. What a tragedy that would be. Don't be surprised that this could happen.
Even as I write, the idea of eliminating history of World Warll are being debated. They claim there is not enough room for all of America's history in a book. How damn, I mean how very, stupid is that? Condense everything down, but don't leave anything totally out. Even a ten year old can think of ways around that reasoning. You don't have to believe that if you don't want to.
Well...my article stands adjourned until another, "Quote the Writer" comes around.
Hope you enjoyed a bit of history about a couple of famous writers. Maybe someday your children or grandchildren will be reading about me and my books. I dare say, that's optimism for you but not without shreds of doubt.