This week I’m focusing on the birthdays of men of greatness. Today, one of my all time favorite authors – Charles Dickens. This man had a short life of only 58 years, but managed to give us such classics as “Oliver Twist,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Nicholas Nickleby,” “David Copperfield” and many more. Each of these books had a piece of Dickens built into them.
They say that authors often write their best work, based on what they’re familiar with. Charles Dickens was such a writer. His early years of childhood were happy. He was the second of eight children. Through those years, the family remained poor, but found happiness in the little things in life, until Charles’ father, John, had lived beyond the family’s means and went to prison for unpaid debt. This led to Charles having to go to work at the age of 12 to help support the family.
Starting out in the workplace at such an early age. interfered with his education, but he was learning on the job, so to speak. All of this added responsibility was, as he said, the end of his innocence. He felt abandoned by those he felt were supposed to be caring for him – and this was a common thread in the writing he would later do.
His most successful writings are now literary classics, but he actually started submitting pieces of his work at the age of 21. A very industrious young man, I would say. Necessity is the mother of invention. I guess Charlie realized that too.
He married Catherine Hogart and they had ten children. Quite a brood. Because of his early success, he continued to write some of the best literature we know today. Most everyone has heard his name, read his books, or seen adaptations of them. I imagine his need to provide for such a large family may have had something to do with his work ethic.
He was only 58 when he died from a stroke. What a success story. A poor boy from London writes countless works in his short life, tours the country as well as the United States, and becomes a super star of the Victorian Era.
Here I sit, almost 75 years old, with a million stories in my head and I’ve yet to publish more than a memoir, which seems to require a sequel. Well, I certainly give him credit for pulling himself out of poverty and creating a massive collection of enjoyment for the world.
Perhaps opportunities were greater during the Victorian Era. Maybe the competition wasn’t as fierce as it is today. It could well be that some of the most outstanding literature was written during those years and what ever has followed is just a re-run of those first editions. Whatever the case, I think anyone who loves to write, will agree that when we place ourselves and our experiences in our work, it can become a classic or just another mundane, boring story. It’s up to us to determine the outcome.