Christmas with Dickens.


If you’re a follower of my blog, you know that I’m one of Charles Dickens’s biggest fans. Everyone knows that he was one of the greatest novelists of all time (well — I suppose everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and so you may disagree with me on that point); but do you know that the man’s work hardly ever rested for a moment? He was the author of many full-length books; but also of a whole slew of short fiction, much of which had to do with the Christmas season.

He wrote five “Christmas Books” — the first and most popular of which was, of course, A Christmas Carol. Then came The Chimes; The Cricket on the Hearth; The Battle of Life; and finally, The Haunted Man. But even after he’d finished writing all these stories, he kept up with the tradition of telling Christmas tales, in both of his magazines. The first magazine was called Household Words; but after Dickens had a disagreement with his publisher, the magazine was discontinued, and All the Year Round was begun.

But both magazines had a deep respect for the Christmas season; and both featured ample literature to suit the holiday mood. Dickens’s best-known “Christmas collaborator” was the popular novelist Wilkie Collins, author of books such as The Moonstone and The Woman in White.

As I said — Mr. Dickens’s work never rested for a moment. Oftentimes, he would work on two books at once. I tried that several times, when I was younger, but I’m no strong hand at the practice. I’m rather more of a “one-book-at-a-time” sort of girl, if you know what I mean.

I often wish that I could be more like Dickens, and work at the pace he worked at. But I’m afraid I shall never manage it. The novella I was working on evolved into a novel; and what was supposed to be completed by the end of November, isn’t even halfway-finished. Couple that with a fair amount of disappointment at the release of my latest book, and you have a certain formula for quite-a-lot-more-than-I’m-accustomed-to-drinking.

But I shall persevere. I’m sure I’ll never achieve the stature of the great Charles Dickens — but perhaps I’ll find a niche somewhat higher than the one I currently occupy.

Only time will tell. But for now — Merry Christmas! This is the time of year for happiness and joy; mirth and memories. There’s no time for idle gloominess. So let us be happy — and let us rejoice in the birth of the Lord our God! There’s nothing so important that it should stand in the way of His glory.


12 thoughts on “Christmas with Dickens.

  1. Roberto Bolaño insists you should work on eight or nine stories at once.

    I wish I knew the secret to becoming more prolific–perhaps I need to grow my hair elbow length or I need simply to stop procrastinating, the latter, realistically, not being feasible, as it would rob me of one of my greatest pleasures (next to complaining about airport security) .

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Even when I don’t get something down in writing immediately, I’m often mulling it over in my head. Dickens may have written at the right pace for himself, but I tend to think that creative works take time to gel, and that the process can’t be rushed. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 2 people

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