As I mentioned in my previous post, I love diaries, and at Project Gutenberg I found many diaries available to read, listen to and download to my Kindle. The first one I read was Excerpts from Adam’s Diary, supposedly written by Adam. This book by the American humorist Mark Twain was published in 1904.
Well, naturally, Eve also kept a diary, which Twain “discovered.” It was first published in the 1905 Christmas issue of the magazine Harper’s Bazaar, and in book format in June 1906.
Mark Twain is known for his wit, but I had no idea how eloquent and tender he could be. Here are journal entries from Eve’s Diary. Notice that, compared to Adam’s focus on building and exploring, Eve is concerned with order and beauty. She delights in her endless discoveries of God’s gifts of flowers, plants, animals…and even her own reflection!
Here are some of my favorite passages:
First days in Eden, and losing the moon
Everything looks better today than it did yesterday. In the rush of finishing up yesterday, the mountains were left in a ragged condition, and some of the plains were so cluttered with rubbish and remnants that the aspects were quite distressing…. There are too many stars in some places and not enough in others, but that can be remedied presently, no doubt.
The moon got loose last night and slipped down and fell out of the scheme—a very great loss, it breaks my heart to think of it. There isn’t another thing among the ornaments and decorations that is comparable to it for beauty and finish. It should have been fastened better. If we can only get it back again… For I do love moons, they’re so pretty and so romantic. I wish we had five or six; I would never go to bed; I should never get tired lying on the moss-bank and looking up at them.
I got a basket and started for a place on the extreme rim of the circle, where the stars were close to the ground and I could get them with my hands… But it was farther than I thought… I couldn’t get back home, it was too far and turning cold; but I found some tigers and nestled in among them and was most adorably comfortable, and their breath was sweet and pleasant, because they live on strawberries. I had never seen a tiger before, but I knew them in a minute by the stripes.
Her first impressions of Adam
I followed the other Experiment around, yesterday afternoon, at a distance, to see what it might be for, if I could. But I was not able to make it out. I think it is a man. I had never seen a man, but it looked like one and I feel sure that it is what it is. I realize that I feel more curiosity about it than any of the other reptiles. If it is a reptile, and I suppose it is; for it has frowzy hair and blue eyes, and looks like a reptile. It has no hips; it tapers like a carrot; when it stands, it spreads itself apart like a derrick; so I think it is a reptile, though it may be architecture.
Her new discovery
I laid a dry stick on the ground and tried to bore a hole in it with another one, in order to carry out a scheme that I had, and soon I got an awful fright. A thin transparent bluish film rose out of the hole, and I dropped everything and ran! I thought it was a spirit, and I WAS so frightened! … there was a pinch of delicate pink dust in the hole. I put my finger in, to feel it, and said OUCH! and took it out again. It was a cruel pain. I put my finger in my mouth; and by standing first on one foot and then the other, and grunting, I presently eased my misery; then I was full of interest, and began to examine…Suddenly the name of it occurred to me, though I had never heard it before. It was fire!
Extract from Adam’s Diary
….perhaps I ought to remember that she is very young, a mere girl, and make allowances. She is all interest, eagerness, vivacity, the world is to her a charm, a wonder, a mystery, a joy; she can’t speak for delight when she finds a new flower, she must pet it and caress it and smell it and talk to it, and pour out endearing names upon it. And she is color-mad: brown rocks, yellow sand, gray moss, green foliage, blue sky; the pearl of the dawn, the purple shadows on the mountains, the golden islands floating in crimson seas at sunset, the pallid moon sailing through the shredded cloud-rack, the star-jewels glittering in the wastes of space—none of them is of any practical value, so far as I can see, but because they have color and majesty, that is enough for her, and she loses her mind over them.
If she could quiet down and keep still a couple minutes at a time, it would be a reposeful spectacle. In that case I think I could enjoy looking at her; indeed I am sure I could, for I am coming to realize that she is a quite remarkably comely creature—lithe, slender, trim, rounded, shapely, nimble, graceful; and once when she was standing marble-white and sun-drenched on a boulder, with her young head tilted back and her hand shading her eyes, watching the flight of a bird in the sky, I recognized that she was beautiful.
If there is anything on the planet that she is not interested in it is not in my list…When the mighty brontosaurus came striding into camp, she regarded it as an acquisition, I considered it a calamity;…she wanted to domesticate it, I wanted to…move out. She believed it could be tamed by kind treatment and would make a good pet; I said a pet twenty-one feet high and eighty-four feet long would be no proper thing to have about the place, because, even with the best intentions and without meaning any harm, it could sit down on the house and mash it, for any one could see by the look of its eye that it was absent-minded…
She thought we could start a dairy with it,…but…it was too risky…She thought…we could stand him in the river and use him for a bridge…but it failed: every time she got him properly placed…he came out and followed her around like a pet mountain. Like the other animals. They all do that.
Eve ponders her existence, and the stars melting
At first I couldn’t make out what I was made for, but now I think it was to search out the secrets of this wonderful world and thank the Giver of it all for devising it.
By watching, I know that the stars are not going to last. I have seen some of the best ones melt and run down the sky. Since one can melt, they can all melt; since they can all melt, they can all melt the same night. That sorrow will come–I know it. I mean to sit up every night and look at them as long as I can keep awake; and I will impress those sparkling fields on my memory, so that by-and-by when they are taken away I can by my fancy restore those lovely myriads to the black sky and make them sparkle again, and double them by the blur of my tears.
Forty Years Later… It is my prayer, it is my longing, that we may pass from this life together–a longing which shall never perish from the earth, but shall have place in the heart of every wife that loves, until the end of time, and it shall be called by my name.
At Eve’s Grave: ADAM: Wheresoever she was, THERE was Eden.
As you can see, this short book is by turns charming, hilarious and serious. Eve’s Diary is one of the most imaginative books I’ve read, my current favorite of Mark Twain’s wealth of writings. I hope you will read it and also enjoy all of the many detailed pen and ink drawings. It’s also available as an ebook at Project Gutenberg, and in print form at Amazon and other online bookstores.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these diaries by Mark Twain, and diaries in general, and you can leave a comment below. More diaries to come!
I love diaries, and have written in various forms of journals since I was about 10 years old. I enjoy reading them almost as much as writing them, and find reliving first hand experiences (yes, even my own) fascinating, educational and often humorous and inspiring.
At Project Gutenberg (gutenberg.org) I found many diaries available to read, listen to and download, and added a few to my Kindle. The first ones I read were Mark Twain’s books, which are supposedly diaries written by Adam and Eve.
The author imagines this first couple as being rather tentative about each other! I tried to select a few extra-special parts, but there are too many, so here are a few paragraphs from the beginning of the book entitled Extracts from Adam’s Diary, starting with Twain’s note:
* * * * * * * * * * *
[NOTE.– I translated a portion of this diary some years ago… Since then I have deciphered some more of Adam’s hieroglyphics, and think he has now become sufficiently important as a public character to justify this publication. – – M. T.]
This new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way It is always hanging around and following me about. I don’t like this; I am not used to company. I wish it would stay with the other animals….
Been examining the great waterfall. It is the finest thing on the estate, I think. The new creature calls it Niagara Falls–why, I am sure I do not know. Says it looks like Niagara Falls…. I get no chance to name anything myself. The new creature names everything that comes along, before I can get in a protest. And always that same pretext is offered–it looks like the thing. There is the dodo, for instance. Says the moment one looks at it one sees at a glance that it “looks like a dodo”. It will have to keep that name no doubt. It worries me to fret about it, and it does no good anyway. Dodo! It looks no more like a Dodo than I do.
Built me a shelter against the rain, but could not have it to myself in peace. The new creature intruded. When I try to put it out, it shed water out of the holes it looks with, and wiped it away with the back of its paws, and made a noise such as some of the other animals make when they are in distress. I wish it would not talk, it is always talking… And this new sound is so close to me; it is right at my shoulder, right at my ear, first on one side and then on the other, and I am used only to sounds that are more or less distant from me…
This morning found the new creature trying to clod apples out of that forbidden tree.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Adam and Eve’s first child is named Cain. When Eve “finds” Cain, Adam can not figure out what kind of animal it is or where she found it. At first Adam thinks Cain is a fish, a kangaroo, or a bear. Eventually he figures out it is a human, like himself.
I love how they talk about God as a beloved family member. Eventually, despite his initial deep annoyance with Eve, Adam finds himself in love with her.
This 104-page book is well worth checking out, and I hope you will get as many laughs as I did! It’s available as an ebook and audio book at Project Gutenberg, and in print form at Amazon and other online bookstores.
If you do read it, I’d love to hear your reactions. You can leave a comment below in the “Leave a Reply” box. I’ll look at Eve’s Diary in my next post!
ebook: Extracts from Adam’s Diary by Mark Twain http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1892
Garden of Eden Thomas Cole [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thomas_Cole_The_Garden_of_Eden_Amon_Carter_Museum.jpg
…and more importantly, I’m FINISHING each story. As in, they each have an ENDING, which is one of my biggest struggles.
I often go hog wild with an idea and write a few pages or even a chapter, and then take a break. But then I don’t know how it ends, so I avoid it. Eventually it goes in the thick “In Progress” binder.
So I decided to intentionally work on writing endings and Story a Day is one of the tools I found to help me do that. It’s Day 4 and I’ve finished every story!
It’s easy. You get an inspiring writing prompt in your email everyday, often from a famous author, some encouragement and tips, and jump right in to write and then share with the community if you like.
You can sign up at http://storyaday.org/signup2016 and yes, YOU CAN SIGN UP LATE. The more, the merrier!
Mark your calendar!
There are 2 more days to donate gently used books to the Servants Anonymous 14th Annual Calgary Book Sale at the tent in front of the OutPost Tent at Crossroads Market, just off of Blackfoot Trail at 1235 26th Ave SE, Calgary.
Everyone is welcome at the Book Sale KICK-OFF to do some “advanced” shopping on Thursday afternoon and evening, May 5th, from 3 PM to 8 PM.
The SALE goes from Friday through Sunday for 2 weekends:
May 6 – 8, 2016, 10 AM to 5 PM, and
My 13 – 15, 2016, 10 AM to 5 PM
This is one of the highlights of spring! I have supported this sale for many years, and always enjoy the friendly volunteers, and seeing what’s new. This is an opportunity to browse thousands of books, categorized by general subjects and by fiction genre, and to get a great deal (that supports a good cause).
There is plenty of parking there (at the Crossroads Market, 1235 26th Ave SE, Calgary), and it’s worth coming early so you’ll have time to visit the booths of fresh veggies, meats, crafts, etc., at the Farmer’s Market before they close at 5!
I recommend shopping with a wheeled traveling or shopping bag-–it’s great for avoiding sore arms from carrying around a pile of heavy treasures and “possibilities”.
I will be heading straight for the special gated area with the antiquarian, rare, and just-plain OLD books in the back right corner. I hope you’ll help out this organization that supports women at risk, and find some great books!
I don`t normally forward a link to a news article, but I just found this and can`t resist.
I just adore Beverly Cleary. On April 12, 2016 she turned 100 years old–can you believe it!
Whenever someone learns my name is Ramona, they ask if I read the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. I tell them that I am pretty sure they were based on me. In the 60`s, my mom read Henry and the Clubhouse, Ramona the Pest and Henry and Ribsy to my brother and me each night, with our huge collie in bed with us. I was very confused: how did this author I`d never met know me so well, and why did she write a whole book about me! The illustrator, Louis Darling, even captured my unruly hair and untied shoes.
Look, I still have them on my book shelf!
Thank you, Beverly Cleary, for years and years of joy and laughter!
You can read a great article about her on Today Parents, here. And if you haven`t already read one of her books, it doesn`t matter what your age, treat yourself to any one of them (especially the three above), and experience the warmth and feel-good humor of this dear author.
Also, check out my review of Beezus and Ramona at Best Children`s Books!
I find it absolutely fascinating and inspiring that our solar system is so orderly!
Our massive planet Earth floats in space, revolving around its sun, travelling a total of 584 million miles at 67,000 miles per hour. The number of days for one revolution has been consistent for thousands of years to the nearest millionth of a day. How is that possible?
Could we replicate that kind of unvarying data? If the top experts of the automotive field raced a car around a track every day using every scientific, technological controls known to man, would they be able to get results as consistent?
There is something Divine and beautiful about this. To me, it points to an unchanging, faithful God who lovingly created a world of order for his children.
As usual, I also found a significant connection in literature, The Pirates of Penzance, a comic opera. The story concerns Frederic, who, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, and the two young people fall instantly in love. Frederic soon learns, however, that he was born on 29 February, and so, technically, he only has a birthday each leap year. His indenture actually specifies that he remain apprenticed to the pirates until his “twenty-first birthday”, meaning that he must serve for another 63 years. Bound by his own sense of duty, Frederic’s only solace is that Mabel agrees to wait for him faithfully.
Here is a sampling of writings on Leap Year worth checking out, and I leave the best for last.
According to timeanddate.com, Leap Years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. It doesn’t take 365 days to circle the sun, it takes 365.242199 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds. So if we didn’t add a day on February 29 nearly every 4 years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year, then after 100 years, our calendar would be off by 24 days.
There are various other calendars that have Leap Years. The Chinese Calendar has 13 months with a leap month added about every 3 years. The Jewish calendar has 13 months in a leap year. There are 29 or 30 days in each month in a Jewish leap year, which has 383, 384, or 385 days. A leap year is referred to in Hebrew as Shanah Me’uberet, or a pregnant year.
The Iranian calendar is slightly more accurate than the Gregorian calendar. Compared with the Gregorian calendar, which errors by one day in about every 3226 years, the Iranian calendar needs a one-day correction in about every 141,000 years. The Islamic Hijri calendar has a 11 leap years in a 30-year cycle. An extra day is added to the last month of the year during the Islamic leap year.
The Hindu calendar includes an extra month, once every three years or four times in 11 years. A leap year in the Ethiopian calendar is similar to the Gregorian calendar in which an extra day is added to the last month of the year every 4 years.
To close with the best: First, an exploration of the various calculations used to define a year. Scroll down about 2/3 of the way.
And my favorite, a fascinating point of view that the calendar has actually always been in place, since before man was created.
…Thought provoking perspectives on time…space…and eternity.
I love Valentine’s Day because I love LOVE. And I love reading about love. I have been browsing through my binder of book notes that goes back to about 1995, and I’ve picked out my 20 favorite books about romantic love.
How did these make the cut?
What I look for in a story of love between a man and a woman, in addition to excellent writing, is the qualities of the main characters. I like to get involved with authentic, realistic characters that I would actually want to spend time with, people with qualities such as integrity, forgiveness, kindness, humility and goodness. By the end I want to see them overcome significant struggles, go through a positive transformation, or experience a revelation that results in a better life for them and those around them.
I look for the author to go beyond the action to expertly convey feelings, motivation, and attitude throughout the story, teach me something new, provide a good pace, and include humor or at least a generally positive outlook. I will stop reading stories with a huge amount of introspection, lengthy descriptions of scenery or houses, a depressing tone, or overdone violence or immorality. I like a gentle writing style as long as it doesn’t get boring, and as long as the story keeps pointing towards significance.
Here is my list!
Here is a mixture of classic and contemporary books, published from 1605 to the present, which include history, humor, mystery, chick-lit, inspiration, and various locales such as Scotland, California, Mexico, England, Colorado, and more. I include the year of their publication.
My top 20, in alphabetical order by author:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 1813 – exquisite
What a Girl Wants by Kristin Billerbeck 2004 – hilarious!
Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore 1869 – incredibly intense, especially the ending
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 1847 – a roller coaster with the perfect ending
La Dame aux Camellias by Alexandre Dumas fils 1852 – true love’s sweet sacrifice
Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante by Sharon Dunn 2004 – laugh out loud mystery
Reason to Believe by Kathleen Eagle 1995 – gentle story of two cultures
Nick’s Kind of Woman by Margot Early 1997 – fascinating relationship and action set in my home state of Colorado
The Well Beloved by Thomas Hardy 1892 – “a sketch of a temperament”
Arabella by Georgette Heyer 1949 – who knew the proper Victorian era could be this funny?
The Story of a Whim by Grace Livingston Hill – sweet, creative, upbeat surprise
Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson 1884 – love amid racial discrimination after the Mexican-American War
Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale 1992 – rakish mathematician Duke meets intelligent Quaker
The Promise of Jenny Jones by Maggie Osborne 1999 – never laughed so hard
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers 2001 – pointing to the source of love
Happy Ever After (also called Family Happiness) by Leo Tolstoy 1859 – light, easy, insightful
The Sunset Coast by Susan Devore Williams 1995 – gradual awakening of love and faith
I hope you will be inspired to read something off your normal reading track! If you do–or if you have some to recommend to me–please leave me a comment!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
“And it came to pass nigh upon nineteen hundred and sixteen years ago”
This begins Frances Hodgson Burnett’s little book published in 1916 about a rejected, deformed orphan boy who is sent to beg for the cruel woman who keeps him.
One day, hiding in the brush near the road to Bethlehem, he watches a surprising number of families and animals pass by on the road, playful and happy. But Zia falls asleep sobbing in unbearable loneliness.
Yet in the night Zia awakens smiling, feeling an unexplainable calm, without and within. Soon he sees one part of the sky growing lighter, and the sheep nearby suddenly attentive. In the darkness, a weary man walks slowly up the road, leading a donkey which carries a woman. A radiance surrounds her.
Whatever had led Zia to Bethlehem now leads him to find the radiant woman and her husband in the mangers of the cave. The woman invites him to come near to the new born baby.
But he refuses, warning her that he is an unclean leper. Yet she insists. “Draw nigh,” the woman says, “and let his hand rest upon thee!”
Zia obeys. He bows his head to the Holy child and feels the feather light touch of his tiny fingers. Soon Zia is healthy and standing upright for the first time in his life.
Frances Hodgson Burnett, the well-known author of The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and many other books, writes in a way that immediately engages and grips her reader. Every page of this little book seemed to draw me deeper into Zia’s experiences and emotions. Even though the story is based on the well-known events in the Bible, and the ending is predictable, every compassionate word of this beautiful story is precious.
The intricately drawn illustrations were done by Spencer Baird Nichols and W.T. Benda. I always love it when a book has a beautifully hand-written presentation in the front pages, and this brand-new book was a gift to a Sunday School student for faithful attendance during 1916.
You can buy a printed copy of this sweet book on Amazon, read the Kindle version for free on Amazon, and various versions for free on www.gutenberg.org, www.childrenslibrary.org, and http://www.online-literature.com/burnett/3042/ .