A Connecticut Yankee

Mark Twain, otherwise known as Samuel Clemens, is to this day considered to be an inspirational American writer. His life was full of ups and downs. He was born prematurely on November 30th in 1835 in Missouri. He was ill most of his childhood. He was the sixth child of John and Jane Clemens. When his father passed away, Mark left school to help his family. He worked as a printer’s apprentice.

He moved East for a while but returned to the Midwest to become a river boat pilot. His memoir, Life on the Mississippi, is influenced by this time in his life. But, then the Civil War started and Mark joined the Confederate Army in 1861. He did not stay in the Army long and headed West to Nevada and California to strike it rich. He ended up penniless instead.

This is when Mark Twain seriously began to write to support himself financially. His big break came when he published a short story called Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog. He later became a reporter and traveled to Hawaii. His writings became so popular that he did a lecture tour and became a successful stage performer. He did a steamship tour. He also traveled around Europe and the Holy Land. His first official book became The Innocents Abroad.

While on the steamboat tour he met and fell in love with Olivia Langdon. They courted for two years and married in 1870. They had three daughters and one son that passed away at the age of two from diphtheria. Mark’s daughter Suzy also became a writer and wrote Roughing It.

After the steamboat tour, his family began renting a house at Nook Farm. They lived near Hartford, Connecticut. There were many writers and publishers living in this area. Mark Twain wrote the majority of his most popular works during the 17 years in Connecticut. He published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1876. His memoir, Life on the Mississippi, was published in 1883. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court was published in 1889.

Unfortunately, Mark Twain made several poor choices financially and ended up bankrupt again. He moved his family to Europe in 1891 with hopes of paying off his debts. He traveled extensively and wrote about social injustice in his book Following the Equator.

Mark returned to the United States and, by this point, was quite vocal against what he saw as American imperialism focused on greed and selfishness. His writings grew darker. He became Vice President of the Anti-Imperialist League. He traveled giving public speeches which were described as harsh and condescending. Often times, he was cruel in his depiction of Western society. He was known for making a scathing and sarcastic public introduction of Winston Churchill at one point. He was called a traitor by some and he began having a harder time getting his works published. It is said that many of his later works went unpublished due to being blackballed by the magazine industry. He died on April 21st in 1910 at the age of 74 years old. Many of his works today like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, published in 1884, are considered truly great American classics.

Author: J. Speer

I like to write. I have 5 books currently on Amazon, mostly fiction. I try to write positive and uplifting children's stories, expressive poetry for women, and interesting articles about personal growth, alternative medicine, and spirituality. My stories are often about diverse people but with human connection in mind through inner perspective. I love my characters especially the ones from my first book, Searching for Fire. I moved recently to Vermont. I live in the North Country region near Lake Willoughby, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. My heart will always be with Kansas but I love travel and meeting new people with diverse perspectives on life. I have found Vermonters to have many admirable qualities like stoicism and a love and stewardship of nature. My hobbies are writing, gardening, outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, and hiking. I am an amateur herbalist. Many years ago, an alternative medicine doctor cured me of a respiratory illness by teaching me about vitamins and for that, I owe her a debt of gratitude. I recently bought a Jeep Wrangler that fits my personality and love for adventure. Associated with the military in my younger years, I have lived in Israel, Germany, and Virginia as well - all of which I loved in different ways. I thoroughly believe in the military spouse phrase, "bloom where you are planted" and endeavor to carry a positive optimism wherever I roam. Most days are good but admittedly I get down sometimes. I am prone to sadness or severe cynicism at times, so I turn to music as my consolation and source of expression or inspiration. My favorite songs currently are "How Deep is Your Love" by the Beegees, "La Vie en Rose", "A Million Dreams" or maybe Karen Carpenter singing "Close to You" or Elton John singing "Your Song." I also like "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us" by Starship or "I'll Stand by You" by The Pretenders. "Faithfully" by Journey always reminds me of rollerskating with friends in the 1980s. My favorite quotes are from the Velveteen Rabbit, Steve Jobs, and this one..."To the caterpillar it was the end of the world, but to the butterfly it was merely a beautiful beginning." Or there is the quote from Peter Pan teaching Wendy..."What if I fall? But, oh my darling, what if you fly?" I also believe in being a pearl - graceful on the outside but full of grit and gratitude on the inside. My favorite women of the Bible are Ruth, Hannah, and Hagar. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Cheers, friend.

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