Mark Twain said: “Moreover, this autobiography of mine does not select from my life its showy episodes, but deals mainly in the common experiences which go to make up the life of the average human being, because these episodes are of a sort which he is familiar within his own life, and in which he sees his own life reflected and set down in print.”
After reading this I thought to myself this is Poetic Memoir, explained long ago by Mark Twain, who I always thought to be one of the best writers, touching on the human experience.
Hopefully, this quote will open up the window, and you will see beyond the here and now, capturing yesterday – the lady on the corner still smoking her Chesterfield in the ’50s, or the lines at Yankee Stadium when you were a little child, hating the lines, but trying so hard to catch a fly ball, have it signed – show it off during show and tell.
Mark Twain said, “an autobiographer seems to particularly hunt out those occasions in his career when he came into contact with celebrated persons, whereas his contacts with the uncelebrated were just as interesting to him, and would be to his reader, and were vastly more numerous than his collisions with the famous.”
Perhaps this is why in this day and age people enjoy the real adventures they can relate to, the walk down a city block without stepping on a crack to break your mother’s back. Or even watching flowers wilt as fall turns to winter.
I do not believe an autobiography in its’ length is accepted as reading material to an audience, on a video, podcast, and the like of modern technology, but the shorter versions of life can be captured both with music, pictures, videos, along with the author’s voice. The systems are changing.
There is no particular setting, but the theme is life, and life is enormous – bouncing off many walls, looking at us in a mirror. Our existence is exciting to others, we can be ourselves and still be as interesting as what Mark Twain called “the famous.”
Mark Twain did say he was applauded, “full of praises and endorsement, which was wise in him and judicious. (speaking of Howells) If he had manifested a different spirit, I would have thrown him out of the window. I like criticism, but it must be my way.”