Yesterday, we read on NPR about tweets from deceased writers and it got us thinking about the various authors and poets who have been resurrected in order to dole out advice, complaints, and fleeting thoughts in 140 characters or less. What could Melville tell us about whaling? (Too much, we think.) What’s happening with Flannery O’Connor’s peacock? And what has Sylvia Plath been dreaming about?
Some of these accounts are from fans, and others are by writers either as publicity stunts for their upcoming books or as a release from the work they’ve been doing all day. Inhabiting the voice of an esteemed writer is a challenge, and so it takes a certain amount of boldness to accept the task at hand. We think the accounts below are worth checking out, either for a laugh or for some desperately needed advice during your midday downtime at work. So read on, dear readers, and let us know who you’ve been following on Twitter, or who you would like to, in the comments section below.
Laura Ingalls Wilder, aka @HalfPintIngalls
1. You’d think after 126 years the fella wouldn’t want another pair of suspenders that say “I ♥ Morgan Horses” for his anniversary. AND YET…
2. I’ve been at the Pitchfork Festival for hours now & there hasn’t ANY haying! Just slouchy city folks bobbing their heads in an odd fashion.
3. “85 degrees in the shade” means it’s that hot under my hoopskirt, too. UGH.
4. Good thing I’m ahead of Nellie Oleson in the lemonade line because that’s one wicked cold sore she’s got. Wipe the dipper!
Flannery O’Connor, aka @flanneryoconnor
1. There seems to be other conditions in life that demand celibacy besides the priesthood.
2. There’s really only one answer to people who complain about one’s writing about “unpleasant” people & that is that one writes what one can.
3. I come from a family where the only emotion respectable to show is irritation.
4. …He wrote a book about a man that turns into a roach. “Well I can’t tell people that,” she says. “Who is this Evalin Wow?”
5. My new peacock has one trick: he runs up to anyone holding a cigaret and snatches it away and eats it. He has eaten two hot cigarets so far.
Jorge Luis Borges, aka @BorgesKnowsBest
1. My favorite tiger has the hiccups.
2. There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite.
3. I can give you my loneliness, my darkness, the hunger of my heart; I am trying to bribe you with uncertainty, with danger, with defeat.
4. My undertaking is not difficult, essentially. I should only have to be immortal to carry it out.
5. Longing for a quiet dream and a garden.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, aka @InTheGreenLight
1. I once thought that there were no second acts in American lives…
2. Something in his nature never got over things, never accepted his sudden rise to fame, because all the steps weren’t there.
3. Now once more the belt is tight and we summon the proper expression of horror as we look back at our wasted youth.
4. There was a new book store down the street,& here he entered,as if books & records could fill the vacuum that spring was making in his heart
5. It was certainly one of the times when, if he knew he was going to die, it was not tonight.
Sylvia Plath, aka @itssylviaplath
1. I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see I swallow; unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful.
2. “If you love her,” I said, “you’ll love somebody else someday.”
3. Hurl yourself at goals above your head and bear the lacerations that come when you slip and make a fool of yourself.
4. I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed and sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane. (I think I made you up inside my head.)
5. I had the impression it wasn’t night or day, but some lurid third interval that had suddenly slipped between them and would never end.
Dorothy Parker, aka @MsDorothyParker
1. I hate Actors; They ruin my evenings.
2. Three be the things I shall never attain: Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
3. If you wear a short enough skirt, the party will come to you.
4. I require three things in a man: he must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid.
5. If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
Arthur Rimbaud, aka @Arthur_Rimbaud
1. I went off, my hands in my torn coat pockets; my overcoat too was becoming ideal; I travelled beneath the sky, Muse! and I was your vassal.
2. I sit like a leper among broken pots and nettles, at the foot of a wall eaten away by the sun.
3. Shatter the mirrors of expensive shops! And the drawing rooms! Make the city swallow its dust! Turn gargoyles to rust.
4. I will tear the veils from every mystery: mysteries of religion, of nature, death, birth, the future, the past, cosmogony, and nothingness.
5. If it had always been wide awake, I would be floating in wisdom!
William Faulkner, aka @WilliamFalkner
1. I never know what I think about something until I read what I’ve written on it.
2. Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.
3. The tools I need for my work are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey.
4. Pouring out liquor is like burning books.
5. Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed.
Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain
1. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
2. It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.
3. Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
4. Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.
5. The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.
Edith Wharton, aka @edith_wharton
1. An irony of the afterlife: I once wrote stories about ghosts, and now here I am.
2. Thoughts on this return: travel has improved. New York has not.
3. I always did despise the cold. Give me Paris in the summer.
4. I shall miss the Mount when I go, which I fear will be soon. So many memories in these walls.
5. I do quite adore this method of communication, though. Such an opportunity for the quickest of bon mots.