Courtney S. Barr

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Memos...By Order of this Author

Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. By Order of the Author.
-Mark Twain
Mark Twain has been visiting my house a great deal lately. He popped up on a summer reading list for the Resident 17 year old and again when I was at Lowe's selecting Mark Twain Brown as a color for my staircase treads (who knew). He has settled in nicely as a topic of discussion and now as a pretty good eye for color. His introductions to his work are sometimes the most intriguing look into a man that took life very seriously but was able to convey his social observances with a wit, charm and honesty that Southern hospitality loves to chastise openly and celebrate in quiet reverence when not in public.(let's just say I am sure there were tons of "Bless his heart" when he first began sharing his thoughts).

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is by far one of my favorite pieces of classic literature. A story that contains more than just human characters, Twain was able to make a river a third dynamic character with its meandering currents and symbolic essence of freedom. He found a way to weave not only everything he banishes us from seeing into each setting, nuance, and dialect loaded dialogue. He truly crafted a piece of art.

Isn't that what we all hope for. That our words on the page become a living breathing piece of history. We know that not everyone will love it, that those who dislike it have their reasons and those who embrace it become our biggest marketing campaigns. Writing is definitely a risk. One that we take on every time we sit down with an MS or blog entry. We open a door from our mind/hearts directly for the public to peek into. They can dissect our ideas, discuss our feelings and dissuade/persuade others from stopping by as well. Its a risky business. But I love it. It is a business where one must develop discipline, must question ideas, look differently at character and develop the understanding that reviewing things more than once is tedious only if you forget how wonderful the outcome will be. Discovering adverbs, adjectives, conclusive outcomes, exciting cliffhangers, dangerous romances and delicious character flaws is just part of the process.

Twain said this in a letter to Orion Clemens on March 23, 1878: "You need not expect to get your book right the first time. Go to work and revamp or rewrite it. God only exhibits his thunder and lightning at intervals, and so they always command attention. These are God's adjectives. You thunder and lightning too much; the reader ceases to get under the bed, by and by."

Right now, this author is working through a story that has captivated her husband, though he is quite perturbed not to be yet let in on the plot directions, and reminded her how much fun it is to discover new things within a new world. But be forewarned, continuous work will help me make sure that my "thunder and lightning" appear at the right moments, time will allow me to develop characters that I love, twizzlers will help me with all the cravings, support from my family will give me strength and Mark Twain will remind me that once it is written I need only to let it go to live a life all its own...By Order of the Author.

Around the Blogs today:

Lisa Schroeder teases us with talk of video blogs tomorrow - so tune in!

Talli Roland has the queasies over sending out Watching Willow Watts..go over and help calm her nerves, Oh and read chapter 1...

Shannon Messenger explains her own reasons why WriteOnCon craziness is something she does out of love (plus see the agenda in her post for the conference)

Natalie Bahm talks priorities, writing and family.

Have a Memorable Monday!


  1. What a nice tribute to Mark Twain, and I am one of those Huckleberry Finn fans!! As a kid, Tom Sawyer was my favorite book and I didn't take to Huck so well until college when I had to study it for a lit class. Then I fell in love!

  2. Aw, thanks, lovely! xx

    Can you believe I've never read anything by Mark Twain?

  3. I was just on Tom Sawyer's Island st Disney this weekend! :) Good ol' Mark Twain.


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