Dear Mark Twain You Should Have Been A Blogger
â€œBe not the slave of your own past. Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.â€ Ralph Waldo Emerson
â€Žâ€You canâ€™t reach old age by another manâ€™s road. My habits protect my life but they would assassinate you.â€ Mark Twain
I must admit that I am not sure if I should call you Mark or refer to you as Samuel because I don’t know what your preference is/was. For all I know your good friends and family called you Sammy or some other sort of nickname that I am not privy to. Perhaps the information is located in a biography but I can’t say that I have ever come across it.
Since this is my blog and I am a writer I am going to continue this pleasant little fiction of ours and say that we are good friends. Or maybe it is more appropriate to say that I view you as a mentor that I can look to for advice on a variety of topics, writing being just one of them.
Some people suggest that the dead never truly leave and I wonder if perhaps my using your name has attracted your attention. Perhaps you are reading this and wondering what a blog is. The easiest explanation is to say that it is similar to a public journal that people can read and comment on.
I often refer to myself as a daddy blogger meaning that I am a writer who share thoughts, stories, feelings and ideas about being a father. But I don’t limit myself to writing about parenting. I blog about writing, technology, sports, politics and religion. In short I write about whatever interests me.
That helps me to maintain my interest and ensures that I never run out of topics to blog about. It also helps to make sure that my kids don’t come here and find 10,000 posts about them because I could do that easily. They are a never ending source of material and not bad for SEO either.
Although I have to tell you that I hate bloggers who focus solely upon that. It is the sort of writing that reminds me of the plague. Single minded of purpose, destructive and dull. If there were a vaccine that I could use to eradicate it I would.
I have been at this game for years now but it wasn’t until relatively recently that I decided that I would try to monetize my blog and do something with my fiction.
That is a long winded way of saying that I want to get paid to be a writer. Actually I do get paid for my writing but it is not the kind of writing that I want to do so I decided to do something about it.
I am doing something different with my fiction. I am posting it as I go and letting people comment on it. It is an unconventional approach and not necessarily the smartest way of doing things. The readers aren’t seeing a finished copy and are providing feedback on unfinished work.
Some of them hate it. More than a few have told me that there are serious problems with it and that they don’t believe that the characters would act as I have portrayed them. But I have received lots of contradictory comments too. There are people who love it and tell me that they can’t wait to see what I come up with.
I expect that you would have much to say on this and that back in your day critics were critics. I appreciate the feedback but I don’t let it stop me from moving ahead with things. I take it for what it is worth and move on.
That is because this story has been inside me for years and I have to get it out. I wonder if that is how you felt. Was Huckleberry Finn written because the words refused to stay stuck inside your head or did you have some other motivation.
I don’t know how this story is going to end. I haven’t mapped it out. I am letting the characters tell the tale and having a lot of fun doing so.
Got a lot more to share with you but I just received an email with a new writing assignment and have got to run.
P.S. That quote of yours at the top of the page is one that I love. I always take it to mean be your own man. Too bad you are not around to discuss it, would love to hear your thoughts.
LadyFleetwood December 18, 2011 at 9:34 pm
@shane_barker Hello Shane how are you have you had a busy day
shane_barker December 18, 2011 at 9:36 pm
@LadyFleetwood hello Marie! Today was a very productive day! I was working on a lot of cool stuff. #newmission #giveback how are you?
torczyner December 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm
I’m nothing resembling an expert, but Twain never struck me as an angsty sort, with material built up in him, forcing its way out.
TheJackB December 18, 2011 at 3:21 pm
@torczyner I don’t know. The books certainly don’t make it seem like he did.
TheJackB December 18, 2011 at 11:17 am
@late_bloomers Thanks. Mine too.
bdorman264 December 18, 2011 at 5:46 am
Interesting indeed; do you think it was easier to be a writer then because of less distractions, or easier now with all the resources at your finger tips?
I mentioned this during our chat, do you think you run the risk of being ‘over-exposed’ by offering too much ‘free’ stuff; or is it necessary to give people the chance to know you first to achieve your goals?
What was Mr Twain doing when we wasn’t working on his novel?
TheJackB December 18, 2011 at 11:06 am
@bdorman264 Hi Bill. It is an interesting question. The computer makes writing easier than it has ever been. I don’t worry about the keys that stick on my old Smith-Corona typewriter or pages not lining up properly because of a bad feed.
There is no need for whiteout or any of the other tools we used to rely upon to correct mistakes so from that perspective writing seems easier now.
But work and family responsibilities eat up huge chunks of time so the increase in productivity has some balance. Don’t know what Twain did when he wasn’t writing, traveling maybe.
ExtremelyAvg December 17, 2011 at 6:19 am
I found this conversation with Mr. Twain, delightful. I wonder if it might be a helpful exercise to have a conversation with the word smiths of old? Perhaps I will send off a missive to Rudyard Kipling and ask him about that little grey polo pony named The Maltese Cat. I loved that story. Great post.
TheJackB December 17, 2011 at 10:42 am
@ExtremelyAvg I am rather fond of these conversations and highly recommend it. I enjoy having the opportunity to chew the fat with our fellow writers. You never know what they might say.
I highly encourage you to talk to Mr. Kipling.
LifemaxHawaii December 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm
@janetcallaway @TheJackB “I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Mark Twain
janetcallaway December 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm
@LifemaxHawaii Hey, Gordon, how are you & Iwa doing?
LifemaxHawaii December 16, 2011 at 6:31 pm
@janetcallaway Couldn’t be better! AZ, NJ, FL next month. Stay HUNGRY!!!
TheJackB December 16, 2011 at 7:48 pm
@lifemaxhawaii @janetcallaway Twain has so many good quotes to choose from.