Now, writers can find inspiration in the historic library of one of America's most famous authors. (Mark Twain House & Museum)
Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens, wrote many of his most famous novels in his Hartford, Connecticut home. (John Groo for The Mark Twain House & Museum)
Clemens' billiards parlor is where he did the bulk of his writing. (John Groo for The Mark Twain House & Museum)

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You Can Write Inside Mark Twain’s Library

Commune with Clemens in his historic home

smithsonian.com

Mark Twain, the famously prolific author assured other writers that “you need not expect to get your book right the first time.” But what if you have writer's block and need even more inspiration? As Inhabitat’s Nicole Jewell reports, you might find it at Mark Twain’s house, which recently opened up Twain’s library for use by writers.

The Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, now offers writers the chance to write inside Twain’s library for three-hour stretches. The house already offers a number of workshops and classes, but the chance to write uninterrupted in Samuel Clemens’ study is a rare one.

The lavish, Victorian-era library was one of the crowning features of Clemens’ home, which he lived in between 1874 and 1903. Inside, members of the family would recite poetry and Clemens would entertain guests with excerpts from his new works. But though it’s filled with literary spirit, it’s not where Clemens wrote his books.

Clemens was eager to move into his dream home despite construction delays, and recorded the progress of his study in letters to friends. “Day before yesterday, the most notable feature of the furniture for my study came at last,” he wrote in 1875, several months after he moved in. “But alas for human hopes and plans, I had to move out yesterday & write in a bedroom; & tomorrow I shall move my inkstand permanently into a corner of the billiard room. If ever the babies get beyond fretting & crying (the nursery adjoins the study), then I shall move back again.”

Clemens never left the billiard room; he liked the quiet and used the huge billiard table as a place to lay out his manuscripts. He wrote some of his most famous books there, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn​ and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. But the book-lined space writers will have access to inside the historic house is just as inspiring. Writers can bring computers or paper inside for their work, though there’s no wifi and no power outlets. And pens are strictly forbidden. There’s another perk, too: Jewell notes that writers will be able to tour the house on their own during their miniature literary sojourn.

The chance to write in a historic home, let alone one associated with an American literary icon, is unusual. But it’s no opportunity for starving artists: a three-hour slot must be reserved in advance and costs $50. Then again, it might just be worth it for a chance to commune with Clemens in the house where he wrote some of the greatest works of American literature.

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