Ghost of Samuel Clemens here.
Who am I you ask? Why you under-educated rascals, I'm the writer Mark Twain. I shouldn't get so aggrieved I guess.
My books are like water. Those of the great geniuses are wine. Fortunately everybody drinks water.
I shouldn't take on airs either I reckon. I should learn from the vegetable kingdom where cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.
I am 178 years old today.
It is the time of life when you arrive at a new and awful dignity; when you may throw aside the decent reserves which have oppressed you for a lifetime and stand unafraid and unabashed upon your ghostly summit and look down and teach—unrebuked.
I achieved my seventy years in the usual way: by sticking strictly to a scheme of life which would kill anybody else.
The moral? We can’t reach old age by another man’s road.
I hear much talk about the end of the world. Children, if Ragnarok does come, you want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later.
Now, I have been called a pessimist (and nearly everything else you can conjure). The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little.
Can you believe it? My estate still pays this danged government taxes. You know the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.
Of course, you shouldn't get mad at the government. The government is made of men. And what a sorrowful creature is Man. But then, what can you expect? Man is but a creature made at the end of the week's work when God was tired.
Oh, so some of you would want to have a bit of writerly wisdom? Here is something to chew on:
You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
As for how to reach the pinnacle of fine prose ... like with old age your path must be your own.
Don't follow in anyone's footsteps. You'll only wind up tripping over your own feet.
Even if you "succeed," you will only be a copy. Aim to be a first class you.