Wednesday is the centenary of Mark Twain’s death, and while celebrating the event might convey mixed messages about admiring “the Lincoln of our literature,” many will do so. There’s a time capsule ceremony at Twain’s boyhood home in Hannibal today at noon, and I can’t resist driving out to take a look. More on that later. Twain himself would have enjoyed it, if only for the opportunity it would have provided him to soundly cuss so many so efficiently.
Out in Hartford, “magician and post-modern master of the sideshow Todd Robbins” will conduct a séance in Twain’s beloved adult home. “I think he would be very happy with everything about this event except that it was celebrating his death,” Robbins said. “Other than that, I think it's right up his alley. It has a certain amount of bunkdom—he liked a good story. That's what we're doing with the seance, we're telling the story of raising the dead for fun and profit.”
Whatever you say. Todd.
I never really understood death-day festivities. But then the birthday celebration is spurious too. Even the greatest authors generally come into the world unpublished.
I’d rather celebrate the anniversary of one of Twain’s best writing days that ended with time spent with his children followed by cheap cigars and good bourbon with a friend at the pool table in the Hartford house. There’s a day for eternity.