We have managed to bring back the ghost of Charles Dickens for a special Christmas visitation.
Interviewer: Welcome Charles Dickens.
Charles Dickens: You stirred me from the grave, I suppose I am obliged to answer your questions.
Interviewer: One of your most famous works is “A Christmas carol” where did some of the ideas come from?
Charles Dickens: I had just done a speech at a charity event, after which I decided to go on one of my “nocturnal walks” I always had problems to sleep, while walking I had the idea for this book. I based some of the characters on people I knew, the lead character Ebenezer Scrooge was based on a counselor in Edinburgh. It took me eight long weeks to write, during which I wept, laughed, and wandered around London at night, long after most sober folks had gone to bed. Of course I wanted to draw my reader’s attention to the plight of the poor. I had visited the Field Lane ragged school (a charitably run school) in the Saffron Hill district of London, which had inspired me in some of my ideas for Christmas carol. What I observed at this institution was a sickening atmosphere … of taint and dirt and pestilence”
Interviewer : Your own upbringing couldn’t have been easy…
Charles Dickens: I craved a good education, but my life nosedived when father was sent to prison due to a debt. Following this I was sent to work in a blacking or shoe-polish factory, a very sobering experience and one I could never forget.
Interviewer: It could be said that the character Ebenezer Scrooge, is a very relevant character in modern times, as we have a world dominated by money and materialism. Your character Scrooge cares nothing for the people around him and mankind exists only for the money that can be made through exploitation and intimidation. From the spirit world have you noticed this?
Charles Dickens: It is true in London the kind of poverty I was used to seems to have diminished, but avarice seems to be plentiful. If anything greed is more prevalent in the modern day than it was in day. I see many children expect an I phone for their Christmas presents, while others scrimp about in the dirt on really low levels of sustenance. I see in modern times there are sweatshops in Bangladesh, children living in slavery and abject conditions.
Interviewer: You were a “superstar” in your times…
Charles Dickens: I was a master of self-promotion, I was mobbed in America, people even tried to cut locks of my hair. I performed to sellout crowds, the audience paying to hear me read. At the time of my death I could claim to be the most famous man in the world. At the same time I was a very private person and didn’t live the invasion of my privacy. I bowed out from public life at St. James’ Hall in Piccadilly by reading A Christmas Carol” my parting words were “…from these garish lights I vanish now for evermore, with one heartfelt, grateful, respectful, and affectionate farewell.”
Interviewer: Your private life was turbulent.
Charles Dickens: Well I fathered ten children, things were all right for a time, then there was increasing pressure as I became more and more famous and Catherine could not cope with this. Then I met Ellen Ternan and things grew even worse. When we split up wild rumors spread about, some said I was having an affair with my sister-in-law, Georgina. Those were very prim and proper times. I had most of the children living with me and encouraged them not to see their mother, I was a most unreasonable man in this way. I am now a restless spirit.
Interviewer: It has been an incredible experience speaking to you.
Charles Dickens: I must drift back into my spirit world. Maybe I will return next Christmas.
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Francis H Powell, author of Flight of Destiny, 22 quirky short stories…
I enjoyed these tales as they gave me a fantastic break from my daily routine and I enjoyed remembering them and day dreaming about them afterwards. They’re a little Ray Bradbury, a little Stephen King, but with Powell’s own unique twists. Very interesting read.