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Owen Wildman

Hi, I’m Wildman. These are my WildThoughts

Welcome to my personal blog. It's where I put stuff about my life as a husband, dad & pastor. I dabble in photography, video, travel, outdoor adventures, and social sciences, too.

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From Tweet Street

Mark Twain: The Law of Narrative

Someday – when I’m brave enough – I’ll write like Mark Twain.

He manages to be sparse yet fully furnished. Like a minimalist home with a lived-in look. Artful and direct, he takes a meandering track through his stories that wanders all over but when complete seem like they couldn’t have taken any other way.

How does he do it?

Click to tweet this quote

I feel like I struck gold when I came across the following passage in his autobiography. He’s discussing the decades-long struggle he had with putting his own story into book form:

“Narrative should flow as flows the brook down through the hills and the leafy woodlands its course changed by every boulder it comes across and by every grass-clad gravely spur that projects into its path; its surface broken but its course not strayed by rocks and gravel on the bottom in the shoal places; a brook that never goes straight for a minute but it goes, and goes briskly, sometimes ungrammatically, and sometimes fetching a horseshoe three-quarters of a mile around and at the end of the circuit flowing within a yard of the path it traversed an hour before; but always going, and always following at least one law, always loyal to that law, the law of narrative which has no law. Nothing to do but make the trip; the how of it is not important so that the trip is made.”

The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1, 224. [emphasis his]

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