Quotable Discussions: Mark Twain

We've all heard it before. "Dream big." "Never give up on your dreams." "If you can dream it, you can acheive it." All of these sayings are good reminders, but I think sometimes we hear them so much they lose their zing and pass into our ears and right back out again without affecting us at all.

Today's "Quotable Discussions" is all about dreaming. And for this post, I've turned my thoughts to Mark Twain. Years ago, when I was a freshman in high school, the first book I was assigned to read for my English class was "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" . I'd read a few books before, and had discovered that I kind of liked reading for pleasure. So, unlike most of my class, I wasn't turned off by this assignment. I rather enjoyed it! And because I had a time frame for reading the book, I discovered that I could read quickly and finish a book in no time!

Mark Twain himself was born an ordinary boy (Samuel Clemens) into an ordinary family in 1835. The son of a judge, he suffered poor health as a child, and though he eventually recovered enough to attend school, his father fell ill with pneumonia and died when Samuel was 12 years old. The following year, Samuel left school, choosing instead to become a printer's apprentice. Two years later, he joined his brother's newspaper, working as an editorial assistant, and discovered a love of writing that sparked one of literature's greatest.

Did Samuel Clemens know from the time he was a young child that he would become a famous author whose works would stand the test of time? Probably not. But that didn't stop him from becoming Mark Twain. I think the quote below reminds us not just to "dream big" and "never give up", but also to realize that even though we don't know what the future will hold, years from now it would be terribly disappointing to regret that we didn't try at all to acheive our dreams, and far better to know that we gave it our all.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

One of the things that attracts me most to Young Adult fiction (both reading it and writing it) is that it inspires that attitude. The young people reading YA fiction are at the age where nothing seems impossible and dreaming is encouraged. I love the thought that a book can plant, water, and nurture the seeds of dreaming and acheivement in a young heart, and encourage readers to "catch the trade winds" in their sails, and "explore... dream... discover."

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favorite quotes and one I was thinking of the other day- a good reminder not to hold back from chasing that mystery ahead of us...someday to look back and wish we'd done more, lived more, dreamed more.

    Thanks for posting. I needed to see this today.