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Forever the Twain Shall Meet

How about a Throwback Thursday from the 19th century?

Literary icon Mark Twain was born on November 30, 1835.

For a blog that emphasizes writing with creative twists on a myriad of events, celebrating the birth of famed author Mark Twain is a must. Actually, it’s more of an act of gratitude to the man who effectively planted the idea in our impressionable minds as young whippersnappers that this thing in school called “literature” expanded beyond the witty and signature verbiage of William Shakespeare (c’mon, we all struggled in memorizing and understanding Shakespeare in sixth-grade) to a more conversational language of rambunctious kids causing trouble and going off on exciting adventures. We related to these stories as if our own, with a little imagination mixed in for good measure and fun. And while there are countless authors in the world, current, past and surely in the future, there is only a handful in relative terms who have risen above the rest to secure and connect with new generations of readers as the years accumulate far beyond the original publish date of declared classics of the written word.

Mark Twain is regarded as one of these masterful wordsmiths.

Your homework assignment is to read or re-read a book by Mark Twain. This time, from his perspective…

one that profoundly changed the trajectory of American literary history.

Maybe All I Need is a Tuxedo

Yesterday I wore a black wool sweater with a gray penguin stitched on. It should be noted it was not a mystery as to why because it was made by Penguin Clothing. Anyways, at a little more than half an inch tall, I was oddly mesmerized by it. Part of my admiration is because of a project I did about penguins in elementary school. But I was fixated on it… and for several minutes. After getting back to work, I was looking right back at, ‘the emperor.’ Weird.

While this was all occurring, I was constantly leaning back and forth in a reclining chair, pondering my next writing topic. Per daydreaming, I thought of a writing class I took in college with Ms. Diaz when I did the same thing. Sitting in the back row, of course, there was only one other person who was equally as ‘cool’ as me in the room and she was to my left. A beautiful brunette with a smile so incredible that it absolutely validated my choice to take this class. Memories flashed to the front of my mind of how many nice mini-conversations we had (they could have been longer, but the professor kept talking).

She was sweet, funny and smart. I knew she worked at the tech repair room in the university’s main hall. One day, I took in my fully functioning laptop with the power cord and was prepared to ask her about a mysterious ‘power shortage.’ Turns out, my class let out five minutes too late and she was already down the hallway when I was arriving. I didn’t even try to make anything up to the computer guy. I just looked at him and left.

Besides seeing her a few times around campus the following semester, that class was the last time I was within a comfortable/normal speaking distance. However, I was a fit individual and a run across the quad would not have killed me (Note: Being a guy entitles me to being an idiot on more than one occasion).

Did I have ‘a shot’ with her? Don’t know, but I really wish I had let her reject me in person instead of me constantly imagining/fearing it.

She was so close and yet so far. It may be a cliche, but it’s a good one.

Snapping back, I gazed back down at the penguin. Did you know emperor penguins travel an average of 50 miles between a breeding colony and the sea for food? According to “Emperor Penguin” on National Geographic online, the female penguin makes this journey for herself and the baby. After she returns and feeds her young, the male penguin then does the same for himself to prevent starvation after fulfilling his two-month babysitting responsibilities. This is a partnership between a male and female penguin while caring for their young (Some of us complain about going to the grocery store a couple of miles away).

Regardless of the fact they have a baby together, these penguins exhibit extraordinary dedication and courage. It comes natural to them. These acts exemplify the mentality of, ‘putting your head down and getting to work.’ I am constantly amazed and reminded of why they are such admirable birds, though flightless.

Maybe the reason I kept looking at the penguin on my sweater was the hope of seeing it sport a time traveling helmet. If two slacker-rocker-dimwits from the ’80s used a phone booth…

“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.”
Mark Twain