Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Thoughts on Sam Clemens: A Quick Study

He played hard, fought for every under dog, never stopped dreaming of buried treasure, learned to pilot a steamship from Saint Louis to New Orleans, discovered war is stupid and politicians often more so. Kathryn Lasky‡

Sam Clemens amazes me. At age 4 he showed “no signs of curbing his imagination or losing his fascination with danger.” This led him “to become a truth stretcher, a manipulator of facts, and on occasion an outright liar.” This description is overwhelmingly the opposite of my general nature since, my whole being craves pure truth and clear facts. Fictional stories have never been any sort of remote talent of mine. However, these inclinations are so strong that I suspect self deception, something that on some level is always evident in humanity. Moreover, I’ll admit that occasionally out of shear insanity I’ve been consciously working on the skill of stretching truth and twisting facts with my kids now for almost 11 years. :) But what made Sam Clemens so good at them as a fictional writer?

Necessity is the mother of ‘taking chances.’ Sam Clemens

My own personal dichotomy of loving and twisting truth leads me to ask, “How does one decide what type of chances to take?” Talents and inclinations must play a role. On the other hand, talents must be developed and inclinations brought in line with God in order to produce good fruit. Another interesting dichotomy: one must regularly develop talents and school inclinations so that when a need arises, one can gamble with confidence. . . . ?

Whether or not Sam Clemens nurtured his talents in a way eternally beneficial to himself and others could probably be debated, but no one can doubt that Sam Clemens took some fantastic chances and had a colorful influence as a writer on the world we live in.

So I say, “After all we can do and nothing is left but necessity, why NOT take a chance? Take a chance on following Jesus Christ. Take a chance on the divinity God put within us. Take a chance on Faith in a loving Heavenly Father.”

† An on going study of people using juvenile biography books as I strive to inspire a love of learning in my children.
‡ All references from A Brilliant Streak: The Making of Mark Twain by Kathryn Lasky Harcourt Brace & Company, 1998.

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