Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Writers' Homes in Danger?

When I saw a headline "Writers' historic homes in peril" (in the Los Angeles Times, but it's an AP story), and a first line that begins "Mark Twain", my immediate thought was that Twain's Mississippi River-front home was in danger of flooding! Oh, no, and other writers too!

I don't even know if such a home exists, but floodwaters are not what is endangering the former homes of beloved authors.

Nope. Think mundane.

Think foreclosure.

Edith Wharton's former home in Lenox, Massachusetts, is called The Mount. That's it, just above. To avoid foreclosure, the operators of The Mount, which relies on tourism dollars, must come up with $6 million by Halloween. So says the AP, but The Mount's website states the figure is $3 million. Trick or treat!

People are flooded and crushed and starving all over the world--and on Skid Row--and I'm supposed to write a check to help keep a gigantic revenent of the Gilded Age open for the literary-minded tourist?

As for Twain's former home in Hartford, CT--the story says it "can't even afford to buy energy-saving light bulbs that would slash the electric bill."

Surely they could come up with something a little more . . . heartbreaking? Will anyone get emotional over the lack of energy-saving bulbs? Especially when the Twain House website points out that they receive million-dollar grants for ongoing restoration projects!

I'll keep writing my checks to Food Banks. When the hungry of the world are fed, we can use the left over money to spruce up the mansions.

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