“To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself…
Anybody can have ideas–the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.”
An idea is like a sculpture. It takes form and meaning as you chip away at all that isn’t needed.
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval”
Self acceptance: Being comfortable in your own skin. All else risks a crisis of existential proportions.
Image credit: Nick Kenrick, courtesy flickr
Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.
A person harboring resentment or fear is best served by finding their sense of humor.
“New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.”
New Years Eve is one of the saddest holidays of the year; no it is the saddest. People only look happy because they’ve had too much to drink, many with the notion that it is for the last time.
By Mark Twain
I have received and read all the letters which you and your little sister have written me… I can read your and your baby sister’s jagged and fantastic marks without any trouble at all. But I had trouble with those letters which you dictated through your mother and the nurses, for I am a foreigner and cannot read English writing well.
You will find that I made no mistakes about the things which you and the baby ordered in your own letters – I went down your chimney at midnight when you were asleep and delivered them all myself – and kissed both of you, too… But there were one or two small orders which I could not fill because we ran out of stock…
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“The xmas holidays have this high value: that they remind Forgetters of the Forgotten, & repair damaged relationships.”
-Mark Twain, letter to Carlotte Welles, 30 December 1907
Christmas is love. All else obscures its essential meaning.
Image credit: caruba, courtesy Flickr
“Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world – and never will.”
Freedom begins with keeping an open mind.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
-Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
It is with our eyes that we look, but only with our imagination that we see.
“The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.”
-Mark Twain, Following the Equator
For the Texas Board of Education, America wasn’t founded on the principal of the separation of church and state, every good capitalist is actually a free-market conservative, McCarthy wasn’t really that bad, and Thomas Jefferson had nothing to do with inspiring revolution in 18th-century America.
And the ink dries on prejudice in Texas.
“Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child’s loss of a doll and a king’s loss of a crown are events of the same size.”
-Mark Twain, “Which Was the Dream“
All loss is profound. Comfort is found by seeing equally in other’s sorrow – and joy – a measure of our own.