Sunday, January 4, 2009

Just finished A Christmas Carol... again

I read A Christmas Carol every year, and finished it again for this Christmastime.  This was the first time I read the version illustrated by P. J. Lynch, my favorite illustrator.  

(In my dreams, he'd illustrate my little picture book fairy tale.  I don't mind admitting this on the Internet.  Why?  Because, statistically speaking, I have a better chance of convincing George Clooney to marry me.  I understand and accept that.)  

But I digress.

I read it every year.  My old copy of the story has hot chocolate stains on it.  I'm a fast reader, but I love to savor the text, sometimes whispering it aloud to make sure I don't move too quickly.  Last Christmas, I ended up reading the last two chapters to two girls I taught.  We planted ourselves in a Barnes & Noble as I read aloud.  I loved how folks nearby would linger and smile at all the right parts.  And I tried desperately not to let my voice break when we got to other parts.  (I failed.)  

I read A Christmas Carol for the joy of it- not to hone my writing skills or better understand how to craft a story.  Yet I realized something as I finished it this evening.  I love it because of Dickens' own joy.  The text is steeped in his humor and delight- as well as his indignation.  (I get chills every time the Ghost of Christmas Present tells Scrooge off while they're visiting the Cratchits.)  The truth is, I can't help but follow Dickens emotionally.  

It reminds me to bring my own heart to bear this year as I write.  I can get lost in getting the plot, characters, and story arc just right.  All are essential aspects of writing.  However, I want to leave a path of my own emotion  for the reader to follow.  

Easier said than done, but a worthy goal for 2009.  

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