The Big Read Blog (Archive)


November 26, 2008
Washington, DC

As we head into our national day of thanks, here's a quote on the writing life from Mark Twain who--according to New York World Sunday Magazine writer W.O. Inglis -- turned 70 on Thanksgiving 1905. (The interview was published in the magazine on November 26 of that year.)

"For weeks at a time I did not leave my home up in the mountains. Often I lay in bed all day and wrote. It's a great luxury to arrange your desk in bed and write as long as you like. I've spent whole weeks that way. You see, I'm in no hurry for publication. It pleases me to do a certain amount of work every day. I keep some of the manuscript for years. If after lying unread for three, four, or five years, it comes up to the standard I have set, then I publish it; if not, it drops into the waste basket. I write to please myself. No editor is so hard to satisfy as one's own standard."

Want to hear more from Twain? Learn more during the Dixie Carter Performing Arts & Academic Enrichment Center's Big Read of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer at