I already had a picture in mind.
These words have been sort of a bizarre beacon throughout my life. I probably read my first Mark Twain book in a middle or high school AP class. I never really liked Mark Twain. Sue me. I should say I have grown to appreciate some of the great writers of our time, but at the ages of 12-17, who really wants to read “Death of a Salesman” or “Lord of the Flies” when you have more pressing issues… like, what jeans and sweater to wear to a party?
So, Huck Finn is one of those books I loved to hate. I missed the idea back then that a story is more than words on a page. My mission was to read it and get whatever assignment I had done. Wasn’t until later in life that I re-read many of these classic books with a new appreciation.
However… there is an interesting story to THESE words. Why? Because I kept running into them for the next 20 years of my life. It seemed someone, anyone loved to use Mark Twain quotes. Who knew? (insert sarcasm here) …but this quote? Pretty obscure. Except I ran into it everywhere but the actual book itself.
A message? A sign?
Anyway, what draws me in most to these words is each time I read it, I feel like Mark Twain has inhabited my body and read my mind. In many ways, in so many years of my life, each time I read this it resonated so much with me. It pulled me in. For a few moments I had that melancholy feeling that I WAS the ghost he was talking about.
It’s about not being settled, and maybe even very sad because others don’t (won’t? can’t?) understand.
Last week, while I was on vacation, Mark Twain found me again. In of all places, Savannah, GA in a little bookstore. This photo is from a book I bought that day which details the stories of the ghosts of the city. And of course as I opened it to browse the pages before I bought it, I opened exactly to page 39.
And the words sent a quiver up my spine. Again.