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Mark Twain & Haley’s Comet

November 22nd, 2010 by Hank

As a writer my two heroes are Mark Twain and Earle Stanley Gardner (creator of Perry Mason). Although they are both long gone, their works will be read repeatedly and remembered forever.

I alerted you back in August about Mark Twain’s secret autobiography to be released this year. Well, it has been printed and widely accepted by the public — so wildly that the publisher, the University of California, got caught with its pants down. They didn’t print nearly enough books. People are standing in line to buy a copy to read and/or give as a Christmas gift but prospects are dim. The book stores are sold out.

One of his most famous quotes: “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

On Nov. 30, 1835, the small town of Florida, Missouri witnessed the birth of its most famous son, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, one of six siblings. The family later moved to Hannibal, a port on the Mississippi River. As a teenager, Twain worked as an apprentice printer. Later, as a riverboat pilot, he earned from $150 to $250 a month, a tidy sum those days.

Prior to adopting Mark Twain as his pen name, Clemens wrote a number of humorous pieces under the pen name Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass. He died peacefully on April 21, 1910  in Redding Connecticut and is buried in New York state.

Haley’s Comet was visible in the sky on the night that Mark Twain was born and again on the night he passed away.  He made note of the birth date and said he wanted to die on the day he did pass away.

His classic trio of books that have been cherished for more than a hundred years are Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Life On The Mississippi.

Ernest Hemingway had this to say about him:  “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”

Posted in Fiction Books & Writing

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