shoebox_dw: (pbs zebra reading)

So there really wasn't a whole lot going on at work today, owing to the pre-Christmas lull setting in - that peculiar retail blank spot where all the spring orders are set and all the holiday marketing is in place, and the order entry staff (that'd include yours truly) is sitting around munching leftover Hallowe'en candy and occasionally twirling around in our chairs in an effort to look relevant.

As you can imagine, this all gets old pretty fast, especially the no-name butterscotch drops. Meaning I basically spent the day on the Internet, checking for election updates on (hey, it's not irresponsible if it's a respectable Canadian site, right?) Watching the ebb and flow of comments across the political spectrum started off a train of thought on, of all things, Little Dorrit, and the peculiar nature of Charles Dickens’ genius.

Little Dorrit is one of the most ferociously angry novels in the English language: Portrait of an Author, Mad as Hell and Not Going to Take It Anymore. The formal theme is the myriad ways in which the weighty constructs of society in the mass – government, finance, class systems – work to stifle anything decent and innovative in the individual. But you don’t have to take my word for it; the reader is reminded, explicitly, roughly 95 billion times throughout. Those familiar with the author will understand that I am not exaggerating by much. 

Read more... )
shoebox_dw: (pbs zebra reading)
Public-service announcement: Having a Dickens novel direct-downloaded into your brain - via iTunes audiobook - every day, pretty much all day, for a week now, can do very odd things to your sensibilities. Even if that novel is only Little Dorrit, which recently edged out David Copperfield as my Most Favourite Dickens Novel Ever (yes, I'm that kind of killjoy. I also like Mansfield Park better than Emma.)

Seriously. Besides developing the most extraordinary lilting edge to your heretofore flat Canadian accents ("Oh, I say, really, eh?")  your thought process starts to lilt dangerously as well. All Victorian fiction has that effect on me, actually. After a bit you're going round your humdrum daily routine in a fever dream of a better and brighter world, spouting off the most amazingly eccentric speeches out of a sort of heroic allegiance to high colour. 

As longtime readers especially can be in no doubt, this all has a very bad effect on my already flourishing (or more likely Flora-ing) prose style. With great anxiety I anticipate the day when these journal entries will be so 'entirely convoluted' as to seem 'positively incomprehensible'. "Oh, I hardly think," that's another winner. A regular sprightly young Barnacle, that's me.

Which brings us round - in a sort of spiral, like those kiddie slides - to the whole writing thingy. I'm actually excited about it all over again - another Dickensian side-effect; the most inconsequential of obsessions suddenly take on charm and colour when filtered through his worldview.
I think I already have a great new way to handle requests from random supervisors, if only in my imagination: "Look here! Upon my soul, you mustn't come into the place saying you want to know, you know!"


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