Some outstanding postcard and paper shows coming this fall!
A few days ago while watching Ken Burns’s film about Mark Twain, I couldn’t help but marvel and the American writer, humorist, entrepreneur and lecturer.
To say that Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, enjoyed a full life is somewhat of an understatement. Twain came from humble beginnings and was raised here in the Midwest, in Hannibal, Missouri, a Mississippi River town that would form the basis of his famous books, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”
Some of the incidents depicted in those books likely came from Twain’s own experiences along the big river. He left school at age 12 to work as a printer’s assistant. He began writing at an early age and was an avid reader –basically self-schooled.
But over the years, Twain held a variety of jobs – journalist, miner, steamboat pilot –among other positions. He traveled extensively and wrote about his adventures in various countries and far-flung parts of the world that most people would never have the opportunity of visiting. His writings are extensive. In addition to several novels, short stories and speeches, there are many other examples of his work to be sure. As a humorist, Twain was witty, satirical and quick with a comeback line to those who were opposed to his beliefs.
The following information about Twain was found on the Internet: “A complete bibliography of Twain's works is nearly impossible to compile because of the vast number of pieces he wrote (often in obscure newspapers) and his use of several different pen names. Additionally, a large portion of his speeches and lectures have been lost or were not recorded; thus, the compilation of Twain's works is an ongoing process. Researchers rediscovered published material as recently as 1995 and 2015.”
Searching for Mark Twain quotes presents quite an extensive list of his humorous and profound observations: Here’s just a few examples of some of his quotes:
*“Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”
*“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.”
*“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool, then to open it and remove all doubt.”
*“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
* Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”
* The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.”
* Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
* Martyrdom covers a multitude of sins.”
And probably his most famous quote:
*”The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
Twain was born shortly after an appearance of Halley's Comet, and he predicted that he would "go out with it" as well; his prediction was accurate as he died the day after the comet returned. He was lauded as the "greatest humorist this country has produced,” and William Faulkner called him "the father of American literature.”
A remarkable man; a remarkable writer, Twain had a wide area of interests including the paranormal and science and technology. He suffered loss during his life and suffered from depression. But perhaps most important is his works left for future generations to study. My daughter and I spent an afternoon in Hannibal, Missouri a few years ago. The town celebrates all things Mark Twain and has quite a few events throughout the year to honor Mark Twain. If you Google Mark Twain Hannibal Missouri, you’ll be directed to several events; the next one is the Autumn Historic Folklife Festival on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21.
It would be fun to try and find some of Twain’s materials -- letters or postcards with him or his characters as a theme; I’m sure they’re out there somewhere!
There are also quite a few postcard shows coming up including the Indianapolis Postcard Club postcard and vintage paper show at Our Lady of the Greenwood School, 399 S. Meridian Street in Greenwood, Indiana. The show is Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information is with Kent Clady at (317) 966-5302.