News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Top Story 3

March 30, 2010

Honey Creek holds annual writers fair

ISU prof Michael Shelden guest speaker

TERRE HAUTE — Speaking to a gymnasium filled with Vigo County middle school students, Michael Shelden, a successful writer and longtime educator, followed the advice of Mark Twain who said public speakers should keep their presentations short.

“After 12 minutes every audience knows that the speaker ‘ought to be gagged.’ After 15 minutes, ‘They know that he ought to be shot.’”

Shelden quoted Twain giving that advice in his new book, “Mark Twain: Man in White.” Shelden also followed that advice during a 15-minute presentation to the students of Honey Creek Middle School on Tuesday afternoon during the school’s annual writers fair.

This is Shelden’s fourth book. The Indiana State University professor of English has also written biographies of British novelist and social critic Cyril Connolly, author George Orwell and screenwriter, essayist and novelist Graham Greene. Shelden’s biography on Orwell earned him a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1992.

Shelden, who has taught English at ISU for the past 30 years, told the Honey Creek Middle School students that Twain wore white in the final years of his life because white was the opposite of the traditional mourning color, black.

“I want to go out in white,” Shelden said, quoting the famous American writer.

The book focuses on the period from 1906 to 1910, the year of Twain’s death. According to a recent review of “Mark Twain: The Man in White” in The Christian Science Monitor, Shelden’s goal was to “reverse the common viewpoint that Twain’s old age was merely a sad and uneventful countdown toward death.”

The book definitely seems to achieve that goal. Twain, despite the deaths of his wife and a beloved daughter, threw parties, helped a group of slum children start a theater and more.

The inspiration for the book on Twain’s final years came from a four-hour newspaper interview Shelden had in 2001 with the late actor Christopher Reeve, he told the students. Reeve, who was paralyzed from the neck down after a horseback riding accident, had a positive attitude even when faced with his personal tragedy. Like Mark Twain, Reeve made the most of the last years of his life.

Reeve “smiled almost the whole time I was with him,” Shelden told the students. Many bad things happen in life that you cannot control, he said. “You do have control over your attitude.”

Twain lived the final years of his life joyfully and apparently always aware that he would be remembered in the future. “He was living as if he’d live forever,” Shelden told the students. “He acted as if he’d be immortal.”

It took Shelden four years to write his latest book, he said. He has already started work on his next project – a biography of Winston Churchill, focusing on the famous British leader’s earlier years.

After Shelden’s talk, which included photographs of Twain and Reeve, several students approached the author to say hello. One even asked for his autograph.

“I love getting out and speaking to kids,” Shelden said. “Many of these are our future [university] students.”



Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Story 3
  • India Good Friday_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 18:

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ukraine 10 Things to Know for Thursday, April 17

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Auto Show-Mustang 50t_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Wednesday, April 16

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • America 4 Boston Pray_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday, April 15

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Masters Golf 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 14:

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mushroom2 (2).jpg Morels: Foragers can now go off-trail

    Rain that pounded Brown County State Park in early April dampened the number of hikers and mountain bikers in Indiana’s largest state park, but foragers of the property’s 15,000 acres of forest welcomed the weather.

    April 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • jake owen.jpg Jake Owen coming to Hulman Center in September

    Nashville recording artists Jake Owen and the Eli Young Band will perform in concert Sept. 13 in Hulman Center at Terre Haute, according to the concert calendar website pollstar.com.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX California Bu_Ter (2).jpg 10 killed in California school bus crash

    ORLAND, Calif. (AP) — A FedEx tractor-trailer crossed over a grassy median on a Northern California freeway and slammed into a bus carrying 44 high school students in an explosive crash that left 10 people dead, authorities said.

    April 11, 2014 2 Photos

  • Rock and Roll Hall of_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 11:

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • China Jar of Clean Air 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 10:

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Philippines M_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 9:

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • waltmansmile Waltman remembered for integrity as much as coaching ability

    Royce Waltman — the coach who turned a 17-year drought of winning seasons into a NCAA Tournament-caliber program for Indiana State University men’s basketball — has died.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Ukraine_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 8:

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 040714 SEX HOTEL.jpg Where we house released sex offenders

    A convicted sex offender who reportedly grabbed a 5-year-old child last week and allegedly molested the child at a Terre Haute motel faces multiple felony charges.

    April 7, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • APTOPIX Obit Mickey R_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 7:

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 122213 BRETT POINT.jpg Prism of modern country on display at ACM Awards

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The new artist of the year category at the 2014 Academy of Country Music Awards is a primer in Modern Country 101 with three nominees who perfectly capture the genre’s 21st century sound: Brett Eldredge of Paris, Ill., Justin Moore of Arkansas and  Kip Moore of Nashville.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • TV-Letterman Retiring_Ter .jpg Letterman’s departure will reshape late-night

    NEW YORK (AP) — Jimmy Fallon’s fast start replacing Jay Leno on the “Tonight” show the past two months had a secondary effect: David Letterman suddenly seemed old.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Afghanistan Photograp_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 4:

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Chile Earthquake_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 3:

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fort Hood_Tayl.jpg UPDATE Officials: 4 dead, including gunman, at Fort Hood

    A gunman opened fire Wednesday at Fort Hood in an attack that left four dead, including the shooter, law enforcement officials said.

    April 2, 2014 4 Photos

  • CORRECTION General Mo_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 2:

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Casey's CEO Bob Myers.JPG UPDATE: Casey’s investing $30M in new distribution center

    Casey’s General Stores will locate a new distribution center in Vigo County, creating up to 185 new jobs by 2019.

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Venezuela Rationing_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 1:

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Australia Missing Pla_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 31:

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • China Malaysia Plane_Morg.jpg 10 things to know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday:

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts Owner Arrested _Ter .jpg Police: Colts owner had $29K in cash when arrested

    CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving, according to a police arrest report.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Davies, Chris.jpg CHRIS DAVIES: Important cornerstones to fitness and longevity

    Weight loss secrets they don’t want you to know about: genius marketing. Fraudulent? Yes. Genius, nonetheless. Look at the droves of people who were betting their weight loss hopes on a quick fix. It happens all the time.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vatican Pope 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 27:

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Australia Malaysia 10 Things to Know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 26:

    March 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Nabors at Indy 500.jpg Nabors to sing ‘Indiana’ one last time at IMS

    INDIANAPOLIS — Beloved actor-entertainer and legendary Indianapolis 500 icon Jim Nabors will sing “(Back Home Again in) Indiana” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the final time prior to the start of the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25. Watch YouTube Video

    March 25, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine Today in History for April 18th Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor
NDN Video
The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity