yuletide and humbug for you
on Christmas Eve Eve, or however one might say that.
And now, here we are, and you’ll forgive me if it’s now officially Christmas Eve. I am about to watch A Christmas Carol with my father, a Christmas Eve tradition.
Please enjoy this brief summary/review of the tale of the man who came up with the story in the first place.
Light in places, nearing the absurd, but it took me back to the times, those days.
The year was 1843 and Charles Dickens was under pressure to come up with his next big hit. He’d toured the United States of America and the crowds there loved him, but Christmas was coming and he wanted a seasonal story for the ages.
He swore he could come up with one in a matter of months/weeks.
His home was filled with beautiful new things, purchased from his previous book’s success, and a family full of life. The more he pressed himself to come up with a Christmas tale, the more consumed by it he became.
His household employed a young Irish woman who loved to tell the children old Irish ghost stories. What a thing to share at Christmas I say.
Ghosts at Christmas…well I never!
Charles overheard her telling on of these tales and ran with it and a story of an old miser being visited by three spirits came to life in his head and soon onto the page.
Literally, it came to life, as soon I was confused, as a viewer without sight or an audio track to explain.
Scrooge was there and Dickens was talking out loud. Soon, his room was spread out with papers and his characters, talking to him.
Tiny Tim was apparently inspired by a real life nephew who was ill and whose progress was uncertain when the family came to visit the Dickens’ home.
Charles deals with a father who was the root of many of his son’s issues, growing up poor and with debts owed. Charles fears the fame drying up and his own future debt, making his own family suffer the way he did as a boy.
His memories of going to a poorhouse and having to work in a factory, being teased by other boys, and all this with deadlines for what was shaping up to become A Christmas Carol.
So, we all know the book does get written, obviously. No mystery there. He did it when he was younger than I am now. Times were different then, or not so much as we’d think. This story still applies.
I only read it (the novel that is), for the first time, a few years ago. To me, the title of this film is apt, as Charles Dickens, in many ways, was the inventor of Christmas, to me, a lot more recent than two thousand years.
My father has been watching that old version of the classic story, the film, since my childhood. When once I couldn’t quite grasp the whole story, finding it boring in parts, I now treasure it for its lessons on compassion and humanity.
I can think of a few souls, in need of a lesson on mistakes of the past that cannot be undone, realities of the present in other places and in the lives of other people, and the chances still available in the future to make things better.
This film told a behind-the-scenes story that made for a pleasant and sometimes gritty glimpse into poverty and one’s life work, in this case being writing. Such a career and success can dry up as fast as from whence it came.
I am inspired, as a writer myself, by a story created, as Charles did, in those stories that span the test of time, from England to North America and around the world.
I’d add this one to any list of movies to view around the Christmas season, for sure.
Humbug and Scrooge to view, for you.
“And God bless us, everyone!”
I once mistook the author’s main character for the author himself. Charles Dickens was no humbug!
You’ll forgive me, Mr. Dickens sir, won’t you?
Yule tidings to you all.