Honoring Mark Twain

On November 30, 1835, Jane Lampton and John Marshall welcomed their sixth child, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, into the world. Little did they know that one day Samuel would be known as literary icon Mark Twain. The author of 28 books and numerous short stories, letters, and sketches, Mark Twain is often described as the “Greatest American humorist of his age” and the “Father of American Literature.”

marktwainquotes

My favorites…

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing.
It was here first.

A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.
(I need to start paying attention to adjectives!)

Is Your Writing Muse in a Snit?

When Guelph writer Linda Johnston informed everyone on her Twitter feed that she had written 17,000 words in three weeks, we all congratulated her and wanted to know the secret of her success. I enjoyed following her tweets regarding this sudden burst of creativity.

June 26

My writing muse has returned from her snit and is in full swing. She has fused me to the computer.

July 13

My muse dictates how much I write. I just do her bidding.

I imagined one of the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne visiting Linda each morning, taking her hand and guiding her to the computer. There, she remains offering words of encouragement until Linda produces her daily quota. Later, I discovered that Linda received inspiration from a more concrete source: Sarah Domet’s book, 90 Days to Your Novel.

Patricia Anderson, another Guelph writer, found a muse that enables her to write prolifically and enjoy a vacation at the same time. At the end of June, she sets off for her trailer in Algonquin Park where she spends the summer working on her novel (without distractions).

While researching several famous writers, I discovered some unusual muses.

  • Alexander Dumas color coordinated his paper. He used blue paper for novels, yellow paper for poetry and rose-colored pages for nonfiction.
  • Mark Twain and Truman Capote write lying down.
  • Ernest Hemingway sharpened dozens of pencils before starting to write.
  • Willa Cather read the Bible before writing each day.
  • Before picking up his pen, John Donne liked to lie in an open coffin. (I wonder about this one!)

In my case, I like to stick to my morning ritual of easing into the writing. After breakfast, I linger over coffee as I check my emails, Twitter and other social media. Once I finish drinking  two cups of coffee, I start writing. When I hit a writer’s block, I follow Julia Cameron‘s advice from her inspirational books—The Artist’s Way, Walking In the Wind, The Prosperous Heart—and get myself back on track. I  enjoy the morning pages, twenty-minute walks and artist’s dates.

Any other muses out there? I’d love to hear about the eccentric ones.

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Oprah and Dr. Wayne Dyer

I enjoyed watching Dr. Wayne Dyer on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah.  Often called the father of motivation, Dr. Dyer has inspired us with his many books and appearances on PBS.

I’ve been a fan of Dr. Dyer since the publication of his first book, The Erroneous Zones. I was surprised to learn that he wrote this book after a profound awakening moment in his life.

At the age of thirty-four, Dyer’s life was out of control. He was involved in bad relationships, overweight, not eating properly, and experiencing difficulty launching his writing career. He decided to visit his father’s grave. Having grown up hating the man who had abandoned his family and forced him to endure many obstacles, Dyer was ready to spew out all his rage. Instead, he felt an inner shift and forgave his father. He then rented a cottage in Fort Lauderdale and spent fourteen days writing The Erroneous Zones, the first of many books that would impact millions of people around the world.

At age 71, Dyer speaks and acts like a much younger man. There are no traces of leukemia and, for all intents and purposes, he was cured by John of God. He spoke at length about his experience with the Brazilian health healer.

His speech with peppered with so many wonderful insights and quotes from other writers and spiritual teachers, among them Mark Twain, Hafiz, William Blake, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Quotable quotes from Dr. Wayne Dyer…

  • All of us are connected. All of us are individualized expressions of God.
  • My prayer is to be in the space of God and have the peace of God live and breathe through me.
  • If we can truly see ourselves in everyone, then we are motivated to hurt no one.
  • EGO=Edging God Out
  • Mantra of the higher self: How can I serve?
  • Put into your imagination what you wish to manifest and act as if it were manifested.