LETTER TO THE EDITOR

American original author blazed his own trail on journey of faith

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TO THE EDITOR:

“You have to accent the positive and eliminate the negative,” they say. Well, that isn’t always true. Good things, like Inspiration, can come from the negative, surprisingly, unexpectedly. What comes to mind is Samuel Clemens — better known as Mark Twain. Until he arrived on the scene, the British poo-pooed even the best of American authors as nothing more than copies of their own. Mark Twain was the first to be recognized as an American original. He was a master with a sentence; magically, he put more than just words in them.
Keeping him from recognition among the best American authors of all time, possibly, is his style: humorist-satirist; and choice of topics: social conventions, He stepped on a lot of toes and soured many prominent people. His essays and speeches spoofed the British Empire and its Monarchy (a no-no, by all means); newspaper and magazine writers and editors; government; communism; labor unions; societies, brotherhoods and clubs; religion; to mention only a few. Catholicism did not escape.
On tour around the world, Mark Twain drew standing room only audiences to hear him speak. Transportation became jammed in some major cities. Even the British came out in droves. His wife Olivia, the self-appointed proofreader of his writings and speeches, stood watch for occasional cuss words and deleted them.
He was a family man, deeply in love with his wife and two daughters. He travelled extensively; visited the Holy Land, its sacred places, and environs.
“If you profess to be a nonreligious person,” he was once asked; “why did you raise your two daughters to be Catholics?” His reply was to the effect that, of all the religions he knew of, the Catholic religion was the best.

Leon Urban, Warren