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Scott Lax Blog

Dickens in the Age of Twitter

I recently read A CHRISTMAS CAROL IN PROSE, by Charles Dickens. It's of course what all the various film incarnations have been based upon, and has provided so many with a sense of what Christmas - for those who believe or sort of believe - is about. (Or don't believe in Christmas, it's still a great novella, I think.)

Partial as I am to the 1951 movie version of "Scrooge," above all the other interpretations, there is nothing like the novella. It took me inside of Dickens's sensibility and mastery of language, as well as into 1830's London.

How modern it is, in so many ways: Human nature hasn't changed much; nor has need, or poverty, or greed or love of family; faith remains, and cynicism does, too.

What has changed so much, I fear, is the pace at which opinions are formed and words are spoken. I don't want to imagine Dickens imparting wisdom in 140-character bytes.

If your means are small this Christmas season, and your mind is rushing, try reading A CHRISTMAS CAROL IN PROSE by Dickens. It sticks with you; it doesn't evaporate into the vapors. It stays, rather, in the mists of literary wonder, which, if you react as I did, enriches your life far more than a new sweater or a night on the town.  Read More 

When Your Writing Just Isn't Working

"Let's say you wrote badly today." (With thanks and apologies to David Huddle and his book on writing.) You might want to take Charles Dickens's advice: "Run a moist pen through everything and start afresh."

Delete keys work, too. Or you might want to save the writing that doesn't work and rework it some other time. The point being, if it just isn't working, jettison it and start over. Sometimes you just need to clear out the mental and literary flotsam and jetsam before you can get to the clean, clear waters of good prose.  Read More