Posts tagged ‘Mark Twain’

MARK TWAIN & ME & DEATH & TIME

A daily practice of mine is to look at the weather forecasts.  Included in the facts are the temperature highs and lows associated with that date.  I sometimes dwell on the years these records were set, years when I did not exist.  Could I be considered dead on those dates?  Is the definition of death that interval before and after your existence?

What got me thinking of this topic was a quote I read a few days ago.  A quote of Mark Twain’s when he was asked if he feared death.  The great writer said, “I do not fear death.  I have been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

This quote sums up exactly what I have been secretly pondering for years.  But the part that bothers me is the ‘billions and billions of years’.

I have been both intrigued and mystified by the universe’s creation, the ‘Big Bang’.  What follows are questions I have pondered, and the more I learn, the greater my confusion.  What came before the ‘Big Bang’?  Did time exist before that colossal event?  For time is the interval between two events, and if there are no events, can there be time?  Time would have to exist while the three other dimensions had not come into existence.

As a side-note, I have been working on a short story, The Event, for some time now and the story is tangled up in the notion of  the ‘Big Bang’ and what came before.

As far as I know, the current theory speculates that the Higgs boson created the ‘Big Bang’, a particle which is able to create mass.  But what created the Higgs boson, a particle which had to exist before the ‘Big Bang’.  Just for a moment, let’s play with science.  We all know the existence of the formula E=Mc2  Now, if the Higgs boson created matter, did light exist at that time?  For, if light did not exist, E=M0 equals no energy or mass.  So how can mass be created if light does not exist?  Am I pursuing mind games are these answers known?

I’ve always thought of the ‘Big Bang’ as a combination of God and science, where physics and religion meet in a profound outcome.  Was Mark Twain, and us all, dead before life for billions and billions of years, or for infinity?

October 1, 2015 at 6:27 pm Leave a comment

STRUGGLING TO GET IT WRITE: PEOPLE WATCHING

Reading as a writer, I am constantly in awe of details ‘good writers’ see in their characters. The emotions, mannerisms and body language, to say nothing of physical description, bring a writer’s characters off the paper and strut before you, and let you hear them speak when the tone of their voice is described. One of my favorite details, which I have seen a few times is: ‘His mouth smiled, but that smile did not reach his eyes.’ I can truly say that, in real life, I do not know if I am capable of detecting that emotion.

I’ve always thought of myself as more of an observer than a participant in this complex existence, but I’m beginning to find that my observations are lacking in detail, not adequately fulfilling my writer’s needs. I working on remedying that flaw, but can it really be corrected? Can your level of observation be actively increased or is it just something you’re born with?

To bring a character to life, the writer must have a clear picture of that character in his head, both physically and emotionally. The better the writer is able to accomplish this feat, the better the story. I’m in the process of struggling to slow the act of writing down, to expand on the details that bring the character to life. I tend to rush my writing and concentrate more on plot and action. I now seek a more balanced approach between character and action.

While recently watching a documentary by Ken Burns about the life of Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain). I’m sure PBS will provide ample opportunities for you to view it if you missed it. I highly recommend you watch it. One comment that struck me was how Clemens spent years observing the world around him and the people populating it long before he knew he would become a writer of fiction. For example, he would notice whether a man had his hands in his pocket or not, and what the contents of those pockets probably were.

August 5, 2014 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment


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