A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about. Ask me anything you can't Google.
Posts tagged "mark twain"
Feb 04, 2013
Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
Jul 09, 2012
A rebus-letter sent by Mark Twain to his wife
Mark Twain (1835–1910, née Samuel Clemens) wrote essays on art and doodled in his journals, letters, and manuscripts, sometimes to entertain his children and sometimes for his own amusement. In addition, he used his artwork to secure patents for three inventions, including an “Improvement in Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments” (to replace suspenders); a history trivia game; and a self-pasting scrapbook coated with a dried adhesive that only needed to be moistened before use.
Read more: The Visual Art and Design of Famous Writers
May 10, 2012
The kernel, the soul — let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances — is plagiarism.
Nov 05, 2011
It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected.
Oct 15, 2011
If the house would only burn down, we would pack up the cubs and fly to the isles of the blest, and shut ourselves up in the healing solitudes of the crater of Haleakala and get a good rest; for the mails do not intrude there, nor yet the telephone and the telegraph… What I have always longed for was the privilege of living forever away up on one of those mountains in the Sandwich Islands overlooking the sea.
Oct 13, 2011
Mark Twain in Hawaii: Roughing It in the Sandwich Islands
Twain visited Hawaii before he was famous, wrote a bunch of letters from the island, turned them into a lecture series that became very popular, and spent the rest of his life dreaming about returning:
No alien land in all the world has any deep, strong charm for me but that one; no other land could so longingly and beseechingly haunt me, sleeping and waking, through half a lifetime, as that one has done. Other things leave me, but it abides; other things change, but it remains the same. For me its balmy airs are always blowing, its summer seas flashing in the sun; the pulsing of its surf-beat in my ear; I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore; its remote summits floating like islands above the cloud rack; I can feel the spirit of its wooded solitudes; I can hear the splash of its brooks; in my nostrils still lives the breath of flowers that perished twenty years ago.
Kind of wishing I’d read the complete collection of letters. Maybe next time.
Link: Mark Twain’s Hawaii - NYTimes.com
Oct 04, 2011
“I went to Maui to stay a week and remained five.”
—Mark Twain, 1866
Friends: I am off with my wife to the island of Maui for a week. I am completely unplugging from the internet, which I haven’t done in probably half a decade. I might post some Instagram photos (@austinkleon), but I doubt it.
"How pleasant to sit on the beach,
On the beach, on the sand, in the sun,
With ocean galore within reach,
And nothing at all to be done!
No letters to answer,
No bills to be burned,
No work to be shirked,
No cash to be earned.
It is pleasant to sit on the beach
With nothing at all to be done.”
—Odgen Nash, “Pretty Halcyon Days"
As my dad used to say, “If you need me, I’ll call you.”
Note to would-be robbers: my in-laws are staying with our ferocious beast of a dog and my shotgun.
Photo by cboykin717
Feb 21, 2011
Book Lovers Fear Dim Future for Notes in the Margins - NYTimes.com
[Marginalia] is a rich literary pastime, sometimes regarded as a tool of literary archaeology, but it has an uncertain fate in a digitalized world.
“People will always find a way to annotate electronically,” said G. Thomas Tanselle, a former vice president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and an adjunct professor of English at Columbia University. “But there is the question of how it is going to be preserved. And that is a problem now facing collections libraries.”
…Marginalia was more common in the 1800s. Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a prolific margin writer, as were William Blake and Charles Darwin. In the 20th century it mostly came to be regarded like graffiti: something polite and respectful people did not do.
Paul F. Gehl, a curator at the Newberry, blamed generations of librarians and teachers for “inflicting us with the idea” that writing in books makes them “spoiled or damaged.”
…Studs Terkel, the oral historian, was known to admonish friends who would read his books but leave them free of markings. He told them that reading a book should not be a passive exercise, but rather a raucous conversation.
I’ll type that again: reading a book should not be a passive exercise but rather a raucous conversation.
As you might imagine, I love marginalia.
Jan 31, 2011
Nov 15, 2010
Start at no particular time of your life. Wander at your free will all over your life; talk only about the thing that interests you for the moment; drop it at the moment its interest starts to pale.
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