Authors on Graveyards

Six Bearers of Wisdom

• “Every heart has its graveyard.” -Zora Neal Hurston-

• “As we go on with our lives we tend to forget that the jails and the hospitals and the madhouses and the graveyards are packed.” -Charles Bukowski-

• “Many a fervid man writes books as cold and flat as graveyard stones.” -Elizabeth Barrett Browning-

“Graveyard on a Foggy Day”

• “Man is the only religious animal. In the Holy task of smoothing his brother’s path to the happiness of heaven, he has turned the globe into a graveyard.” -Mark Twain-

• “Politics can be the graveyard of the poet. And only poetry can be his resurrection.” -Langston Hughes-

• “Cemetery, n. An isolated suburban spot where mourners match lies, poets write at a target, and stonecutters spell for a wager.” -Ambrose Bierce-

-K-

Authors on Coffee and Cigarettes

A Nickel Worth of Wisdom

• “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it a thousand times.” -Mark Twain-

• “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons.” -T.S. Eliot-

• “A cigarette is the perfect type of perfect pleasure. It is exquisite and it leaves one satisfied. What more can one want?” -Oscar Wilde-

Break in the Cold (P7000-editj17.132)
“Break in the Snow”

• “Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?” -Albert Camus-

• “That’s what I do: I make coffee and occasionally succumb to suicidal nihilism. But you shouldn’t worry-poetry is still first. Cigarettes and coffee follow.” -Anne Sexton-

-K-

Brand Preference

Why Some People Don’t Mind Being a Billboard 

In a world of posts, pics, updates, likes, and follows image can become more important than preference. The ‘gram, the ‘book, and the twit’ may not have created posturing but they sure as hell have turned it into a martial art of sorts. There are many individuals out there that feel having classy things will make them classy people. Mark Twain addresses posturing, price, and pretentiousness in “Concerning Tobacco.”

Drinking, Smoking, and Screwing
Drinking, Smoking, and Screwing

Twain begins his essay by establishing a couple common superstitions. These superstitions concern an individual’s preferences and standards concerning tobacco. Twain states that many of his friends will only smoke expensive cigars and take great pride in showing off the labels of their cigars whenever they smoke. These friends also berate Twain for his choice of cheap cigars and state they could not bear to smoke such sub-standard tobacco. In an act of subterfuge Twain places the labels of his cheap cigars on some expensive cigars he secretly took from a friend. His friends, self-proclaimed experts with high standards, could not tell the difference and thought they were smoking cheap cigars. Twain ends the essay by returning to the superstitions he establishes at the beginning. He states that the only real standard concerning tobacco is an individual’s preference, but it may be a preference to brand and not necessarily flavor.

Twain wrote “Concerning Tobacco” in 1917. If the ‘gram, the ‘book’ and the twit’ were around a hundred years ago I would wager his friends would have posts, pics, updates, and likes about their expensive cigars. They would be posturing and bragging about the price of their stogie selections.  Mark Twain wouldn’t be so pretentious. He wouldn’t use a brand to make himself look better, to end up being a billboard for that brand. Take Twain’s advice and embrace your preferences, even if they are on the less expensive side.  Better to be you than a billboard.

-K-

“Concerning Tobacco” by Mark Twain from Drinking, Smoking, and Screwing (1994) edited by Sara Nickles.

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