Sunday, November 25, 2018

the writing of a book

Last night the Gardener and I watched a movie about Charles Dickens writing A Christmas Carol. I never realized what an ordeal that was for him--but I know no book is easy to write. He suffered from writer's block and wrestled with his characters who pestered him in almost ghost-like form, and would not let him alone until he got the story right. It reminded me of listening to author Jan Karon talk about how her characters would show up on a street in town, and she was so curious she had to follow them to see where they were going and what they were doing. Some she wasn't thrilled about, but they were what they were, and into her story they went. She couldn't help it. 

The story was very dramatic, just as Dickens' books are. His tortured soul, as he tried to write, was realistic. Like Jan Karon, his characters took on a mind of their own and seemed to know best. The main point was that the story was going to end sadly, and his characters would not stand for it. Tiny Tim must live!

But of course once he gave it a good ending, all fell into place. He got it to the print shop just in time before Christmas and all copies sold within a few days. He was a popular writer.

I didn't know that A Christmas Carol is noted for causing a big increase in charitable giving at Christmas time over these many years. Of course tax breaks eventually helped as well. 

Coincidentally the very day we watched this I discovered a tiny volume on one of our bookshelves. It's dark and can easily go unnoticed. A lovely, tiny edition of the novella, along with another short story. It's very old as you can see, and we don't remember where we got it! Probably a used bookshop in London. 
It's beginning to look a bit like Christmas around here. I like decorating right 
after Thanksgiving so we can enjoy the fruit of our labors for as long as possible.

I love reading your blogs but am having difficulty commenting. When I can comment,
the "hoops" they make me jump through are time consuming and frustrating, so it's
discouraging. I'm looking forward to having a little more free time soon 
and maybe I can figure out what's gone wrong.
Meanwhile, enjoy December and all the joy the Reason for our celebrations brings to us.

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