Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Medium interviews famous author after reading bio "Mark Twain: Man in White" by Michael Sheldon

Mark Twain has always been one of my favorite authors because he was such a great humorist. I sent the autobiography he wrote about his early days around to people in the family I thought it was so funny and good. He died April the 19th in 1910. This book was published 2010!
I thought I would try an interview of Mark Twain's spirit. I am sure that would appeal to him as he has probably always wanted to come back as a spirit and be interviewed by a medium.
GERRY: I must say it is only right that I interview you in a spirit of irreverence since that was always your attitude toward great men like Shakespeare who you thought tended to be revered too greatly by mankind. You did become the most famous writer in the world for a long time, so that probably contradicts your philosophy about famous men, wouldn't you say.
MARK TWAIN: I was unable to prevent my great fame because I had to continue to make a living once I started by the sale of my books. Now I can see how a published writer becomes famouser and famouser just in order to pay the bills and keep the wolves from the door.
GERRY: I loved James Agee who said, "Let us all now praise famous men" since people are so impressed by fame they tend to over do their adulation of them.
MARK TWAIN: I agree with his sneer in principle but found myself violating my own aversion to famous men more and more.
GERRY: Accordingly I decided I would avoid fame in order to write about very unpopular subjects which famous men could not touch or they might have become paupers over night as people boycotted their books. My needs were taken care of with disability benefits so why not?
MARK TWAIN: A worthy thought, and so what might some of those subjects be?
GERRY: The homosexual husbands who marry and deceive their wives and children for starters.
MARK TWAIN: Oh Lord no, I could never have written about such a subject. In fact I did not even know there was such a thing, or I could not admit to knowing it in my books. There are only certain subjects a popular humorist can touch once he or she becomes famous and that is not one of them.
GERRY: I think my subject could eventually inspire humor when it has been around and surfaced long enough.
MARK TWAIN: Agreed but you will have to remain unfamous for a very long time waiting for that to happen. I was not able to joke about such subjects in my time. Maybe that is why Shakespeare never left any autobiographies to enlighten the people about what he was really like.
GERRY: Of course, I am surprised you did not think of that when you were writing your book trying to poke holes in the reputation of the most famous writer in the world before you, William Shakespeare. He may have felt he had to keep silent because he was a homosexual who married and had children, and since he could not confess to it, he left no history about himself. Doesn't that make sense?
MARK TWAIN: Makes a lot of sense. I could have understood it better had I been a homosexual who married and had children. As it was I was heavily addicted to cigars and billiards and writing. I could not stop writing, I suppose because people were so accepting of a heterosexual guy marrying a lovely woman like my wife and having children, but making mistakes. Oh did I ever make mistakes, especially after she died and was not there to guide me and keep me being an attentive father. I acquired a secretary who was younger than I, a petite little woman who so beguiled me with flattery that I neglected my daughter who was very ill with epilepsy. I let her talk me into putting her in an institution environment and keeping her there all during her twenties. When I was finally cured of my infatuation with my young secretary and brought my daughter home, she died of a seizure when she was only thirty years old. I even let my secretary, Isabel was her name, as in Jezebel, talk me into sending her to Germany to live to see a doctor there. She could live in Germany but not in my lovely home with my secretary and me. You see when you come out of a violent seizure you may temporarily become violent and my little secretary was frightened to death of Jean's seizures and told the Doctor that I did not think I could take care of her, and then she told me the doctor did not think I could take care of her, that she would be better of in an institution, and the doctor thought she would be better off there instead of with a famous father who was too busy being famous to want her around having seizures.
GERRY: On reading this bio I did think that was the worst thing your secretary did was to influence you to keep your poor daughter away who was very gifted. She could speak several languages, she loved to ride horses, she was active, but oh so sad because her malady kept her from marrying or having a career. I related to her because of my early bouts of chronic fatigue starting in childhood. I eventually became a problem for the family because of the fragility that developed as a result of keeping my father's secrets along with being molested by his partners as well as from his alcoholism. I did not believe I could tell my father's secret until I was in my late fifties and even then it was not greeted with acceptance. In fact, it was not welcome at all and still isn't. I became disabled and since I had chronic fatigue even many doctors did not accept it as a valid disability even though I eventually could not work. But my stamina was compromised so I felt as though I was hobbled compared to other people throughout my life as your daughter certainly felt she was by her epilepsy. She would have had to be helped by her family to live a more enjoyable life. I thought the secretary lived a very enjoyable life actually living with you for a number of years, while she contrived to keep your daughter away and out of your hair.
MARK TWAIN: And I just bragged on my good health despite smoking so damned many cigars. I even turned my vices into something lovable for an old humorist to do, and caused many more men to take up smoking cigars and developing heart disease and high blood pressure. My epileptic daughter had already died by the time I came over here, so I had a lot of making up to her to do when I got here. My wife was not happy with me either. Then I had to watch my only living daughter be taken by a fortune hunter, a gambler and thief, who robbed her of her inheritance as much as he could, talked her into leaving what was left of the money she inherited from my books to him when she died. And none at all to her daughter who he only allowed her to see about a half an hour a day for years! Just when she needed her the most after he own father, a sensitive Russian musician, had died. She had been taught by me how to neglect a daughter, as I also neglected her too. She would leave home and go on singing tours thinking I was preoccupied with my relationship with my cute little secretary. And then after that I had to watch my grand daughter who inherited the last of my earnings on my books die in squalor and alone of alcoholism in her fifties.
GERRY: That was all very sad but you did have some good millionaire friends to your credit.
MARK TWAIN: I presume you are joking and giving me another poke about vacationing in Bermuda with my Standard Oil millionaire friend, Henry Rogers. Well, he was a good friend, but I could be justly accused of preferring the company of my millionaire friends to my poor daughters, not realizing that it was up to me to teach them how to be good friends with me by giving them enough of my time to make a difference. That is what so many busy famous people do, neglect their primary relationships because they don't see the immediate rewards for spending a lot of time with their children, especially handicapped ones.
GERRY: I am sure you have said quite enough about what happened to your family for people to get the idea.

1 comment:

Have Myelin? said...

Love it. You have a way with words Gerry.


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