What the Dickens?
As this year marks the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, I am reading a biography of his life by the actor, Simon Callow. It is proving to be most enjoyable.
I do enjoy my Dickens novels. I read Oliver Twist at a young age and have slowly been going through his long list of titles ever since. I am a particular fan of Great Expectations and David Copperfield, though his masterpiece will always be The Muppet Christmas Carol. Miss Piggy was brilliant in that.
As a child, I had a burning desire to be a young character in a Charles Dickens novel – I wanted to be poor and struggling but with great expectations for my future. The desire was so great that I convinced myself my family were dirt poor and I would, at times, put my pocket money back into my mother’s purse.
I had rocks and sticks to play with. What need had I of toys?
I’m pretty sure one of my brother’s (I shall not name names) was taking money from this same purse, so really, I was funding and covering all trace of his deceit.
“One day M’ma,” I would say. “I’ll be a famous author and I’ll buy you a thousand houses.”
“What are we going to do with a thousand houses you weird little boy?”
“No, please, don’t be proud, M’ma. It is a gift of thanks for while we have so little, you have provided me with all that I need … perhaps we should sell my bed. A patch of ground is all I require. I can use leaves as a blanket …”
Then I would go and play on our new computer, or watch TV at one of the many TVs in the house.
If I’d known then how much new writers earn, I wouldn’t have been so keen to be poor. I would have patiently waited. Now who said dreams don’t come true?
Happy belated birthday Charles. I hope you had a good one.