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.


  1. We enjoyed that movie also!

  2. Oh it is distressing when commenting is such a chore...

    I enjoyed reading about Dickens and his struggles writing A Christmas Carol. Must get out my set of old Dickens books. I think yours was a wonderful find...

  3. I loved that book and the story and Dickens, too, for that matter. I also have a very old copy from my husband's grandmother.
    If you visit me I don't believe you will have any hoops to jump through. I took all the blocks I could find down. Hope you have a blessed Sunday night- xo Diana

  4. "A Christmas Carol" is a favorite in our home. How wonderful you have an old edition.
    Your mantel village looks pretty. I like the all white against your brick. We're starting the decorating process as well. More time to enjoy, like you say.
    So sorry you are still having issues commenting. Not sure what that's all about. ♥

  5. I'm sorry commenting is such a chore. I've noticed you've been commenting on some blogs as "anonymous" and adding your name at the end. Does that work better? This sounds like a movie I'd enjoy. I knew Dickens was a bit of a tortured soul, but not specifically about this book and its characters.

  6. My Christmas just doesn't seem complete unless I get my "A Christmas Carol" fix in, with the 1984 version with George C. Scott being my favorite. I just love the story... and how wonderful that you found that old book! The movie that you were referring to, "The Man Invented Christmas", is one I plan to watch as soon as I find a quiet evening to sit down and watch on my Amazon Prime watch list. I sure hope you get your blog issues settled as quickly as possible! Have a great week!

  7. Dotsie...a question...are you still using your AOL account? Just wondering if that might be the issue?

  8. I never knew that about Dickens or Jan Karon. How interesting! Love your little Christmas village. Mine is coming out slowly but surely.

  9. Winterthur Museum in Delaware is hosting Dickens' great-great-grandson's one-man performance of the Christmas Carol.

  10. Was the movie The Man Who Invented Christmas? That was an enjoyable film! Your decor is lovely. I'm so sorry about your commenting woes.

  11. Sorry about your commenting issues. It's always frustrating. On most blogs I have to comment using my Mennonite Girls Can Cook blogger profile and then people think that's my personal blog instead of The Happy Wonderer. Oh well... I always appreciate a story or a place when I get extra history about them. That's interesting background on The Christmas Carol. I've started decorating for Christmas. So far I'm enjoying finding new places for old things at this new to us Country Bungalow. Blessings as you anticipate the beautiful Christmas season.

  12. Dotsie, It was good to hear from you. Sorry to hear about the computer problems. What an interesting post. Love the story and it has been done in movie form so many ways. Great story. Thanks for sharing and have a great week. Sylvia D.

  13. We enjoyed that movie too! We watch the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol every year, so we knew we would want to see the movie about its writing.

    Again, ugh about the comments issue. Computer things are so frustrating! It is kind of like speaking a foreign language, isn't it? To our young people, it is more like their native language. They seem to understand things effortlessly.

  14. I haven't seen that sounds fascinating. A Christmas Carol is a yearly read here, right at the start of the season, but this year, I had forgotten about it! Thank you for reminding me.

    Interesting your insights about authors wrestling with their characters. Of course, perhaps it's NOT the characters. Some would say it is the muses, others that all art is created above before being released on earth through one of we clay vessels, and the tussle of will is between the heavenly creator and the earthly...grunt. :-)

    Your mantel is beautiful! I love little houses, especially at Christmastime! They look charming as your banner...I actually cried out in delight when your blog came up...the all white is so Christmasy.


I enjoy the conversations that come with comments!

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