Be sure to read David Shellenberger's recap of our Twain Conference on August 18th in Redding, Connecticut.
First Annual Mark Twain Conference in Redding
Wednesday, August 29
Be sure to read David Shellenberger's recap of our Twain Conference on August 18th in Redding, Connecticut.
Tuesday, August 28
Thursday, August 23
My Top Ten Reasons Twain's time in Redding is of Importance...
1. The Mark Twain Library
To the best of my knowledge- The Mark Twain Library is the only library in the World that Mark Twain personally founded, funded and filled with books.
2. Clara's Wedding and Nina's Birthday
Clara Clemens was the only of Twain's daughter to wed and give birth. Both of these events took place at Stormfield in Redding. Clara wed on October 6th, 1909 and Nina was born on August 19th, 1910.
3. Albert Bigelow Paine and Twain's Biography
Paine was the one who let Twain know of a 75 acre farm for sale just over the hill from his own home in Redding in the Winter of 1906. Twain's secretary, Isabel Lyon, voiced her approval of the "country home" idea and in March of 1906 the purchase was made. Additional properties were purchased and under the watchful eyes of both Paine and Lyon, Stormfield was completed in June of 1908. Twain arrived soon after and would remain in Redding until his passing in April of 1910. In 1912 Bigelow Paine published Twain's biography (which was written in Redding) and in essence from 1906 until Paine's passing in 1937, he (along with Clara Clemens) pretty much controlled how the World viewed Twain as the literary executors of his pages and manuscripts.
-Twain's own entry in Stormfield's Guestbook
Samuel L. Clemens: "Yes, it is the most out of the world and peaceful and tranquil and in every way satisfactory home I have had experience of in my life."
Tuesday, August 21
After our conference on Saturday August 18th, 2012, PBS Director Producer James Nicoloro interviewed Mark Twain Scholar and Pitzer College President, Laura Skandera Trombley, in the Mark Twain Room at The Lobster Pot for his upcoming Documentary, "Redding's Mark Twain."
Following the interview, I took Laura and Dr. Ann Ryan up to see (new) Stormfield; The original Stormfield burned down in 1923, but the (new) Stormfield is very similar and they loved it. Then it was down to the Redding Roadhouse. < Shocker, huh?
Posted by Brent M. Colley at 3:54 PM
Thursday, August 16
Our Featured Speaker is:
Laura S. Trombley
Author and President of Pitzer College
Posted by Brent M. Colley at 6:02 PM
Our Fourth Speaker is:
Susan B. Durkee
Posted by Brent M. Colley at 12:41 PM
Our Third Speaker is:
Brent M. Colley
Our Second Speaker is:
"What little I knew of Mark Twain came from a vague recollection of reading Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in high school. To a high school student like myself, the books seemed remote, the dialogue difficult. But no matter, Twain seemed to be part of my dna and there was nothing I could do about it. Who didn't known the name Mark Twain. At the turn into the 20th century he was one of the most famous people in the world. You could not overestimate his popularity. Time magazine recently called him our first super star. Author and critic, William Dean Howells, his literary confidant and friend of 40 years, gave him a more measured appraisal, calling him the Lincoln of our literature."
Morton and Luise Kaish Century Masters Video Profiles
Research, pre-production: The Redding Mark Twain
Production: Art Deco New York with Barry Lewis
Producer/Director 1998-2010, Walking Tour Series, New York Voices, Reel New York,Jonathan Pond Specials, Health Specials
Walking Tour Series with David Hartman and Historian Barry Lewis
A Walk Down 42nd Street (Emmy nominated)
A Walk Up Broadway, A Walk Through Harlem (Emmy nominated), A Walk Around Brooklyn (Emmy nominated), A Walk Through Greenwich Village
A Walk Through Central Park, A Walk Through Newark,A Walk Through Hoboken
A Walk Through Queens, A Walk Through the Bronx (Cine Golden Eagle)
Designed for Pleasure (Asia Society), Asa Ames (American Folk Art Museum),Tibetan Art (Rubin Museum)
Take me out to the Ballgame (NYPL), Art of Empire (New York Historical Society, Chagall (Museum of Biblical Art)
Seduction of Light (American Folk Art Museum), Twixt Art and Nature (Bard Graduate Center), Protecting the Word (Morgan Library)
The Glass House of Phillip Johnson, Gehry’s IAC building, Dutch Water Colors, DNA barcode (New York Botanical Garden)
Producer/Director - Series, Producer/Director - Documentary
Producer - Live and live on tape, Producer – Fund Raising
Manager Broadcast Operations, Graphic Designer (print and video)
Photographer, Offline Editor - Avid, Final Cut/Final Cut X
Effects - Photoshop/After Effects, Line Producer, Camera
Tuesday, August 14
In the Lead-off Spot...
Publicist and Publications Editor
Mark Twain House & Museum Publicist and Publications Editor Steve Courtney won the 2009 Connecticut Book Award for Joseph Hopkins Twichell: The Life and Times of Mark Twain’s Closest Friend (University of Georgia Press, 2008). His most recent book, published to acclaim in the fall of 2011, is ‘The Loveliest Home That Ever Was’: The Story of the Mark Twain House in Hartford (Dover), with a Foreword by Hal Holbrook and photographs by John Groo.
In the past decade, Courtney has frequently written and spoken on Samuel Clemens’ friend Twichell and his role in literary and social history. He co-edited, with Peter Messent, The Civil War Letters of Joseph Hopkins Twichell: A Chaplain's Story (University of Georgia Press, 2006). He founded and leads an annual eight-mile walk in the Hartford area commemorating similar autumn and spring walks Twichell and Clemens took.
Courtney is also a freelance editor and researcher, having worked in this capacity on a major new biography of William Gillette, the American stage portrayer of Sherlock Holmes; a work on the ethical basis of American political philosophy; a history of the Ensign Bickford corporation; and a major biography of inventor and industrialist Joseph Gerber.
He has been a journalist for 36 years, more than twenty of them at The Hartford Courant in Hartford, Connecticut. There he was a bureau chief, copy editor, book reviewer, interviewer and writer on scientific, historical and literary subjects, including an acclaimed series on the then-little-known work of Yale biologist Thomas Steitz, the 2009 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry. Courtney was Deputy Editor of Northeast, the Courant's Sunday magazine, for five years, and served as President of Sunmag, the national organization of Sunday magazine editors.
Courtney received his Bachelor of Science degree in History from Charter Oak State College in 1997.
Saturday, August 11
- Mixed Green
- Caesar or
- Roadhouse Clam Chowder
- Chicken Breast with Scallion Mashed Potatoes & Sauteed Spinach
- Atlantic Salmon with Rice and Grilled Asparagus
- Bone In Pork Chop with Scallion Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans
- Wild Mushroom Fusili with Cream, Herbs & Parmesan
- Seared Filet Mignon with Herb Butter, Roasted Potatoes & Spinach
Additional questions: Contact Jan Kardys, Chairman, Unicorn Writers’ Conference, Inc.
Posted by Brent M. Colley at 3:39 PM
Monday, August 6
Saturday, August 18th, starting at around 1:00 at The Mark Twain Library a wonderful free to the public Mark Twain Immersion.
- Steve Courtney from The Mark Twain House will talk about his book,
- James Nicoloro director/Producer will talk about and show his Film Trailer of his upcoming Documentary, "Mark Twain and Redding".
- Brent Colley Redding/Twain Historian will give another wonderful talk about Twain/Redding History,
- A Mark Twain Scholar from Elmira College will talk,
- Pitzer College President, Laura Twombley is coming all the way from California to give a talk about her book "Mark Twain's Other Woman" and
- Susan Boone Durkee will share her knowledge of Isabel Lyon.
Then after the Library event...in the evening, The Redding Road House will be having its Mark Twain Room in full Twainiac decoration...with a dinner and guest speaker Mark Twain himself, (famed Mark Twain interpreter Alan Kitty).
Space is limited to only 70 for the Road House dinner event so make your reservations now..contact: Jan Kardys, President Unicorn Writers Conference: email@example.com
This event is a fundraiser for the Unicorn Writer Conference, a 501 non-profit
Monday, June 11
|Left to Right- Lisa Burghardt, Dolly Curtis, Brent M. Colley|
On Sunday, June 10th I traveled down to Bridgeport with the Easton Historical Society's Lisa Burghardt to discuss the Twain & Keller Exhibit (currently on display at Easton Public Library) with Dolly Curtis and Dave Schwartz of WPKN 89.6 FM.
We were scheduled for 30 minutes, but as it turned out, we ended up needing a little more time and stretched it to 45 minutes. The Twain & Keller topic has a knack for inducing extensive conversation. :)
We had a great time. Dave and Dolly are a lot of fun to work with and we look forward to future shows on WPKN 89.6 FM.
If you would like to listen to the show, you can do so here:
Twain & Keller > Easton and Redding, Connecticut's Special Connection on WPKN 89.5 FM
Friday, June 8
After World War I, Helen Keller became active in relief efforts on behalf of those blinded in the war. This effort marked the start of the work that occupied Keller for the rest of her long career.
Keller worked concurrently with two organizations, the American Foundation for the Overseas Blind and the American Foundation for the Blind. Besides serving as a director of both, she held many different staff positions and, over forty years of extensive and near-constant travel, became the most prominent and recognizable spokesperson for the blind and the deaf-blind.
In 1929 Keller began a fund-raising drive to provide an endowment for the American Foundation for the Blind. She wrote thousands of letters soliciting funds, including one to Gustuv Pfeiffer, who contributed $500. He followed with further contributions and, after Keller visited him in 1931, he gave the foundation 150 shares of preferred stock in his pharmaceuticals corporation. In 1932 Pfeiffer accepted an invitation to serve on the foundation's board of trustees and became one of its most active members, heading both the budget and executive committees.
In 1938, Pfeiffer convinced Keller to move her small household (including a secretary and a helper) from Forest Hills, New York, to Aspetuck. He provided the land, donated much of the building cost, and helped to raise the rest. Keller named the home Arcan Ridge, after a cottage in Scotland. Although Keller was a citizen of the world, and her extraordinary contributions to humanity are associated with many other locales, Arcan Ridge was her home and her retreat. If not central in her work, it was central in her life, as she expressed in a letter to the Pfeiffers:
"How wonderful it all is! You, Mr. and Mrs. Pfeiffer, have so taken me by surprise with your delightful plotting and planning, I can hardly speak... There is no counting the treasures to which the key symbolically opens the door. It means a home in New England to which affection and memory have ever bound me, a place nearer Heaven where Teacher is, a sanctuary where rural solitude will again sweeten my days."
To friend Keller wrote:
"We have never loved a place more than Arcan Ridge. It is a Colonial house surrounded by meadows, woods, brooks, and the old New England stone walls you will remember. I am especially delighted with my study which has spacious bookshelves, thirty-five cubbyholes and windows hospitable to the sun."
In 1946, while Keller was in Europe championing the plight of wounded soldiers and civilian victims of World War II, her cherished house burned to the ground. When she returned, Pfeiffer provided lodging in one of his other nearby houses and, with contributions from other neighbors and friends of Keller, began to build another house on the same site. This 1946 house, 163 Redding Road, was Keller's home for the rest of her life.
She produced her later writings, notably the 1955 biography, Teacher, during sojourns in Easton. After a stroke curtailed her activities in 1961, she spent all her time in Easton, until her long and productive ended in June of 1968.
Thursday, May 31
Radio Discussion: Twain & Keller – Easton & Redding’s Special Connection on WPKN 89.5 FM 10pm Sunday, June 10th, 2012
The show will be produced by David Schwartz and hosted by Dolly Curtis with guests Brent M. Colley and Lisa Burghardt sharing more about these two world-renowned individuals who just happened to select Easton and Redding, Connecticut as their final residences.
Tuesday, May 29
The Mark Twain Tourism Project:
This project showcases the towns and cities across Connecticut that have Twain 'Connections.'
List of Towns and Cities that have Twain 'Connections'
Posted by Brent M. Colley at 8:14 AM
Thursday, May 17
Curated by Brent M. Colley, Heather Morgan and Lisa Burghardt
"He entered into my limited world with enthusiasm just as he might have explored Mars. Blindness was an adventure that kindled his curiosity. He treated me not as a freak, but as a handicapped woman seeking a way to circumvent extraordinary difficulties. There was something of divine apprehension in this rare naturalness towards those who differ from others in external circumstances."Their paths crossed at pivotal points in both their lives: A series of failed business ventures had pushed Twain into bankruptcy and Keller was being pressured to decide whether she should continue with her studies or devote herself to the cause of the deaf and blind. In a roundabout way, it was Henry H. Rogers who championed for both of them, corrected their situations and fortified a friendship that would continue until Twain's passing and beyond.
-Helen Keller on meeting Mark Twain
This exhibit is a celebration of their friendship and the interesting parallels between these world-renowned individuals who just happened to select Easton and Redding, Connecticut as their final residences.
The Online Version of the Twain & Keller Exhibit.
Posted by Brent M. Colley at 6:50 PM
Sunday, March 11
Mark Twain and Helen Keller’s Relationship
They first met in March 1895 at a luncheon held in Keller’s honor at West 34th Street in NYC. It was the home of Laurence Hutton, an editor and critic who was Twain’s friend and one of Helen’s early benefactors.
Henry Rogers was there with Twain and about a dozens others to welcome & wish Helen well during her stay in NYC where she had come to study speech at the School for the Deaf.
During the luncheon the two spent time together and Helen seemed to feel more at ease with Twain than with any of the other guests. Hutton later said: “He was peculiarly tender and lovely with her-even for Mr. Clemens- and she kissed him when he said good-bye.”
Helen had read some of his work and asked him to explain the origin of his pseudonym “Mark Twain”. After explaining its meaning to steamboat pilots he added that the name suited him because he “was sometimes light and on the surface, and sometimes-”
“Deep,” she interrupted, surprising him with her quickness and intelligence.
“His voice is truly wonderful,” she later recalled. “To my touch, it was deep & resonant…he spoke so deliberately that I could get almost every word with my fingers on his lips.”
“Mark Twain has his own way of thinking, saying and doing everything. I can feel the twinkle of his eye in his handshake. Even while he utters his cynical wisdom in an indescribably droll voice, he makes you feel that his heart is a tender Iliad of human sympathy.”
How she felt the “twinkle of his eye”
When Helen was talking with an intimate friend, her hand went to her friend's face to see, "the twist of the mouth." In this way she was able to get the meaning of those half sentences which people complete unconsciously from the tone of the voice or the twinkle of the eye.
To the astonishment of all the guests at this luncheon, Helen shook the hands of all the guest and thanked them by name as they left.
For whatever reason, Twain decided to quickly pat her on the head as he passed by, to his astonishment…she knew who did it!
He later said: “Perhaps someone else can explain this miracle, but I have never been able to do it. Could she feel the wrinkles in my hand through her hair?”
He found out how when she visited him at Redding in 1909: “I smelled you” was her honest reply.
Twain’s Letter to Mrs. Henry Rogers Asking $$$ to Support Keller’s Education (Twain himself was bankrupt at this time)
“For & in behalf of Helen Keller,
Mr. Rogers will remember our visit with that astonishing girl at Lawrence Hutton’s house when she was 14 years old. Last July, in Boston, when she was 16 she underwent the Harvard examination for admission to Radcliffe College. She passed without a single condition. She was allowed only the same amount of time that is granted to other applicants, & this was shortened in her case by the fact that the question-papers had to be read to her. Yet she scored an average of 90, as against an average of 78 on the part of the other applicants.
It won’t do for America to allow this marvelous child to retire from her studies because of poverty. If she can go on with them she will make a fame that will endure in history for centuries. Along her special lines she is the most extraordinary product of all the ages.
I beg you to lay siege to your husband & get him to interest himself and Messrs. John D. & William Rockefeller & the other Standard Oil chiefs in Helen’s case…[to] pile that Standard Oil Helen Keller College Fund as high as they please; they have my consent.”
The result of this letter was that Mr. Rogers personally took charge of Helen Keller’s fortunes, and out of his own means made it possible for her to continue her education and to achieve for herself the enduring fame which Mark Twain had foreseen.
Twain's Reaction to this News:
“It is superb! And I am beyond measure grateful to you both. I knew you would be interested in that wonderful girl, & that Mr. Rogers was already interested in her & touched by her; & I was sure that if nobody else helped her you two would; but you have gone far & away beyond the sum I expected—may your lines fall in pleasant places here, & Hereafter for it!
Ever sincerely yours,
S. L. CLEMENS.”
Examples of Public and Private Praise for Keller from Twain:
“…at sixteen years of age this miraculous creature, this wonder of all the ages, passes the Harvard University examination in Latin, German, French history, belles lettres, and such things, and does it brilliantly, too, not in a commonplace fashion. She doesn't know merely things, she is splendidly familiar with the meanings of them.
Has Miss Sullivan taught her by the methods of the American public school? No, oh, no; for then she would be deafer and dumber and blinder than she was before. It is a pity that we can't educate all the children in the asylums!”
-from a Mark Twain Speech
Below is a letter from Twain to Helen in 1903:
Riverdale - on - the Hudson
St. Patrick's Day, 1903
I must steal half a moment from my work to say how glad I am to have your book and how highly I value it, both for its own sake and as a remembrance of an affectionate friendship which has subsisted between us for nine years without a break and without a single act of violence that I can call to mind. I suppose there is nothing like it in heaven; and not likely to be, until we get there and show off. I often think of it with longing, and how they'll say, "there they come--sit down in front." I am practicing with a tin halo. You do the same. I was at Henry Roger's last night, and of course we talked of you. He is not at all well--you will not like to hear that; but like you and me, he is just as lovely as ever.
Every lovingly your friend (sic)
“Blindness is an exciting business, I tell you; if you don't believe it get up some dark night on the wrong side of your bed when the house is on fire and try to find the door.”
- Mark Twain quoted by Helen Keller, in her book Midstream
Keller Visits Twain in Redding:
Helen Keller visited Twain for three days in January of 1909. She was 28 years old and had recently released her second major work: “The World I Live In”
The copy Twain received was inscribed:
“Dear Mr. Clemens, come live in my world a little while/Helen Keller.”
In response, he had said that she must come to his world first, and to bring Annie (Sullivan) Macy & John Macy with her.
“I command you all three, to come and spend a few days with he in Stormfield.”
Of all the visitors to Stormfield none wrote a more vivid description of the place than Helen Keller.
Nothing escaped her senses, from the “tang in the air of cedar and pine” as she made her approach to the smell of “burning fireplace logs, orange tea and toast with strawberry jam” which were served shortly after her arrival.
That which she could not see was “spelled” into her hands by her teacher, Annie Sullivan Macy, a.k.a. “The Miracle Worker” as Twain called her.
It was not generally known that Keller had a great sense of humor, but it was one of the things Twain liked best about her.
When he showed her to her room on the first night at Stormfield, he told her that if she needed anything, she would find an ample supply of cigars and bourbon in the bathroom.
When he gave her a tour of the billiards room, he offered to teach her the game. She took the bait and innocently replied, “Oh Mr. Clemens, it takes sight to play billiards.” Not the way his friends played, he answered. “The blind couldn’t play worse.”
More Examples of Keller’s Sense of Humor
When she met Dr. Furness, the Shakespearean scholar, he warned her not to let the college professors tell her too many assumed facts about the life of Shakespeare; all we know, he said, is that Shakespeare was baptized, married, and died.
"Well," she replied, "he seems to have done all the essential things."
Once a friend, who was learning the manual alphabet, kept making "g," which is like the hand of a sign-post, for "h," which is made with two fingers extended.
Finally Miss Keller told him to "fire both barrels."
Back to the Visit to Twain’s Stormfield
The highlight of Helen’s visit came on the final evening when Twain read to her his short story: Eve’s Diary.
He sat in a big armchair by the fire while Helen followed the story with an ecstatic expression on her face. At the very last line: “Wherever she was, there was Eden.” (Twain’s tribute to his wife Livy) Helen became tearful.
In her journal, Twain’s secretary wrote: “She quivered with delight, and he was shaken with emotion & could hardly find his voice again. It was a marvel to behold.”
In the Guestbook of Stormfield she wrote:
“I have been in Eden three days and I saw a King. I knew he
was a King the minute I touched him though I had never touched a
~ A Daughter of Eve. Helen Keller Jan. 11
Twain understood her meaning so completely that he wrote beside it:
“The point of what Helen says above, lies in this: that I read the ‘Diary of Eve’ all through, to her last night; in it Eve frequently mentions things she saw for the first time but instantly knew what they were & named them- though she had never seen them before.”
In Keller’s ‘The Story of My Life’, she recalls the joy of learning the names of things after she acquired the gift of language: “…the more I handled things and learned their names and uses, the more joyous & confident grew my sense of kinship with the rest of the World.”
As a way of thanking Annie Sullivan Macy for helping to bring Helen’s imagination to life, Twain handed her a small souvenir before she left Stormfield.
It was a postcard on which he wrote:
“To Mrs. John Sullivan Macy with warm regard & with limitless admiration of the wonders she has performed as a *miracle-worker.”
*It would take 50 years for the term “miracle-worker” to catch on, via the Broadway show about Annie by playwright William Gibson.
Twain was amazed that Helen had been able to transform everything around her into a reality only she could imagine.
“A well put together unreality is pretty hard to beat,” was his response to a friend who remarked that Helen’s “concept of things…must lack reality.”
In Huckleberry Finn- written long before he met Helen – Twain wrote:
“it’s lovely to live on a raft…nothing to hear nor nothing to see.”
Twain and Keller had a Lot in Common:
1. Mark Twain was a pre-mature baby with little hope of surviving, let alone succeeding.
Helen Keller lost her vision and hearing at 19 months and had little hope for success.
Both “survived” and became successful Authors, Public Speakers and Celebrities.
2. Over the course of her life Helen came to accept religious and political beliefs quite different from those of her family and friends.
In 1906, Twain pondered what future audiences (100 years later) would say about his unpublished comments on religious bigotry and social hypocrisy…
He noted that “The 2006 edition (of his Autobiography) will make a stir when it comes out.”
“In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”
- Autobiography of Mark Twain
3. They both dealt with people who wished to take advantage of them.
"As she had her entire life, the luminous Helen inspired intrigues and power struggles, as her acquaintances and advisers fought with one another to gain possession of her."
The same can be said for Twain who endured a painful “power struggle” between his daughters and business associates in the final year of his life.
4. They were both well traveled but both chose Fairfield County as their final homes.
During her lifetime, Helen Keller lived in many different places—Tuscumbia, Alabama; Cambridge and Wrentham, Massachusetts; Forest Hills, New York, but perhaps her favorite residence was her last, the house in Easton, Connecticut she called "Arcan Ridge."
The same can be said about Samuel L. Clemens. He too lived in many places, and yet fell in love with the beauty of his final residence… Redding, Connecticut.
“I was never in this beautiful region until yesterday evening. Miss Lyon and the architect built and furnished the house without any help or advice from me, and the result is entirely to my satisfaction.”
“It is charmingly quiet here. The house stands alone, with nothing in sight but woodsy hills and rolling country.”
-Samuel L. Clemens letter to Dorothy Quick dated June 19, 1908
5. Both died of heart disease.
Helen Keller lived at 163 Redding Road in Easton, Connecticut. She died in her sleep on June 1, 1968 at the age of 87. The cause of her death was arteriosclerosis heart disease (Twain died of Heart troubles too. His were tied to his life long smoking habit).
Twain died in the twilight hours of April 21, 1910, at the age of 74.
6. Since their deaths, their names have lived on…
“She will live on, one of the few, the immortal names not born to die. Her spirit will endure as long as man can read and stories can be told of the woman who showed the world there are no boundaries to courage and faith.”
Eulogy by Senator J. Lister Hill of Alabama
To celebrate the 176th anniversary of Twain's birth Google painted its logo using its patented "Doodle" to render the world of Twain's Tom Sawyer, who famously cajoled friends to whitewash a fence for him.
Mark Twain and Helen Keller's Relationship will be showcased at Easton, Connecticut's Public Library starting May 1st, 2012.
Wednesday, March 7
Last week I came across a new website launched by the Connecticut Office of Tourism called My Connecticut Story.
The homepage said-
"TELL US WHERE YOUR PASSION LIES. WE WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THE CONNECTICUT PEOPLE, PLACES, AND EXPERIENCES YOU LOVE MOST."
And I thought- "What a Great Opportunity to Promote the Twain Tourism Trail."
My entry is available by following the link below:
My Connecticut Story
The contest runs until May 25, 2012 so VOTE OFTEN!
Friday, March 2
Tuesday, February 14
Hartford, Nov. 27/1888
Livy Darling, I am grateful — gratefuler than ever before — that you were born, & that your love is mine & our two lives woven & welded together!
Mark Twain on Love-
"Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century."
- Twain's Notebook
Mark Twain on Marriage-
"Marriage -- yes, it is the supreme felicity of life. I concede it. And it is also the supreme tragedy of life. The deeper the love the surer the tragedy. And the more disconsolating when it comes."
- Letter written to Father Fitz-Simon, June 5, 1908
Monday, February 13
"... life does not consist mainly -- or even largely -- of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever blowing through one's head." -Mark Twain
The lesson: There are two lessons that can be learned from this quote.
One: Be mindful that each one of us awakens each morning and faces an internal battle with our thoughts, feelings and personal desires. Take that into consideration when interacting with other people and realize that their position on a topic or reaction to your opinion is based solely on their perceptions.
Two: Give yourself a break. A lot of what's floating around up there has nothing to do with reality. Focus on the positives, ignore the negatives and if you really want something- stop dreaming about it, set some goals and go get it.
Saturday, February 11
Thursday, February 9
"The two most interesting characters of the nineteenth century are Helen Keller and Napoleon Bonaparte."
- Mark Twain, New York Sun, April 10, 1903
Easton Public Library in Easton, Connecticut will be hosting our Mark Twain and Helen Keller Exhibit in April and May of this year.
More info soon.
Tuesday, February 7
"You can't reach old age by another man's road. My habits protect my life but they would assassinate you."
- 70th birthday speech, 1905
And here's proof of that- Mark Twain's bedside table in Hartford, CT...
Anyone else would have likely blown themselves up.
Monday, February 6
"Manifestly, dying is nothing to a really great and brave man."
Mark Twain wrote that in a letter to his wife Olivia in reference to Ulysses S. Grant but it could just as easily be applied to Bob Marley today.
Today would have been Bob Marley's 67th birthday. Marley who died of cancer in 1981 at age 36 was and still is the icon of reggae music. His hits: "Get Up, Stand Up," "No Woman, No Cry," "Jamming," and "One Love." are timeless anthems of justice, unity and love that are still relevant today-- thirty+ years after his death.
Bob Marley truly was a great and brave man whose faith allowed him the strength to not to see death as a negative but as a positive... a step closer to God.
To quote another Twain quote on the topic:
"Death is the starlit strip between the companionship of yesterday and the reunion of tomorrow."
One would hope that many of the reunited are "Jamming" up in Heaven today.
Happy Birthday Mr. Bob Marley, may you rest in peace.