If it is inevitable that I will surely drop dead some day, and if it is likely that it will come sooner rather than later, then I hope to go out with a bit of style and leave something behind that speaks not only to my own children, but to anybody searching for truth and beauty, people of the future that I will never know who are living beyond the confines of my little life. What makes me think that I can do it? Well, I’m a writer… and Mark Twain did it… and I don’t have to be vain or loopy or maniacal or delusional to make the same thing happen.
On this day one-hundred-and-five years ago, April 21, 1910, Mark Twain left the world of the living. He caught a ride on Halley’s Comet (It deposited him on Earth in 1835, appearing in the sky when he was born, and took him away when it appeared in the sky again in 1910… He didn’t have to be some kind of suicidal Heaven’s Gate nut to manage that.) But it wasn’t the comet that showed me the truth… it was his books. I learned to take a wry view of a complex world that I could do nothing to change and tweak it with intelligence and understanding from the story of racism and justice he left behind in Pudd’nhead Wilson. I learned the value of ingenuity and opportunity and how to use them properly from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. I also learned a profound love and understanding for small town people like me and the people of my little hometown in both The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Samuel Clemens, Mr. Mark Twain, left himself behind in stories to speak to the ages. He spoke to me… directly to my heart, and he had been dead for 46 years before I was even born. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.
Now, I am not a fool (wait a minute! I know you have proof to the contrary if you read my blog posts, but I am not an UNINTENTIONAL fool), so I do not think that my words and wisdom are ever going to have any sort of effect on the entire world the way Mark Twain’s have. I can accept reality. This whole world is dying and may not long outlive me. There are a large number of talented fools… er, I mean writers, out there who have put out a number of published good books, and have, like me, made diddly-zero-bupkiss in dollars on the deal. I have no delusions. My work is good enough to turn into a best-seller or maybe two, but I do not have the time or the backing to make it happen. If anything other than obscurity embraces my books, I won’t live to see it. Only eleven per cent of published authors make a livable wage from writing and I will never be one of them. But I have ideas that resonate. I can write in ways that touch the heart (as you may have seen if you have read my post “When Compassion Fails” that was a minor hit with the 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion group).
So, I am satisfied to confess my girly addiction to Barbie Dolls and My Little Pony… talk about cartoons and cartoonists on WordPress… make people giggle a bit… or even guffaw, and put together books that my family will read, and only be mildly embarrassed by, and maybe one day will reach and touch the heart of some boy or girl who really needs to read what I wrote at a time in their lives when it can actually help… the way so many other philosophers, wits, and word-wizards have helped me. (How’s that for some prime purple-paisley prose?)